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Product profile | Leada Acrow

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Leading falsework, formwork and groundwork supplier Leada Acrow has supplied equipment and technical expertise to help one of the UK’s most impressive civil engineering schemes stay on track.

The Mersey Gateway Bridge is a new six lane toll bridge currently under construction over the River Mersey. Scheduled to open in autumn this year, the landmark structure is a 1,000m long cable-stayed bridge, with a load-bearing weight of more than 53,000t.

Merseylink Civil Contractors Joint Venture – Kier Infrastructure and Overseas Limited, Samsung C&T ECUK Limited and FCC Construcción – will deliver the construction of the £600M scheme.

Enhanced motorway link

The new bridge will enhance links to the motorway network in the North West of England, ease congestion and provide a much needed link between the towns of Runcorn and Widnes. The unique design is based on a cable-stayed structure with three towers; the main bridge deck is made from reinforced concrete and the spans are supported by 146 steel cable stays attached to the three towers.

Leada Acrow is involved in the project through the company’s long-standing German-based formwork supplier Meva. Meva has a partnership with Spanish company Rúbrica, which specialises in the construction of large bridge structures throughout the world and has been contracted to provide form travellers and wing travellers for the approaches of the Mersey Gateway Bridge.

Complex formwork

Leada Acrow sales director Paul Burns said: “Due to the complexity of the formwork involved in this project, we were contacted by Meva to help design a solution to construct the formwork on the wing traveller. The wing traveller is a specialist piece of equipment for helping construct cantilever bridges and approach viaducts with insitu concreting, using a main structure supported by the box deck, and a bottom structure which enables concreting of the wings of the deck.

“With two wing travellers used, one for the north approach and one for the south, we designed a solution to construct the formwork which consisted of our Slimlite Soldiers and Super A-Beam with special fabricated sections to allow us to create the required shape of the concrete deck. Leada Acrow technical director Paul Raybone and I worked very closely with project engineer Javier Fernandez over a six  week period to devise a solution and supply the equipment on time, thus allowing the construction programme to stay on track,” he continued.

Wing travellers

Each wing traveller weighs 280t and is around 48m wide and 20m tall. It acts as a movable concrete mould to complete the full deck width, which, at just over 43.5m at its widest point, will carry six lanes of traffic.

The machine is fixed onto two railway tracks that sit on top of the deck section that has already been cast by a movable scaffold system. Concrete is poured into both sides of the machine at the same time, enabling workers to cast sections of the deck. Once the concrete has cured, hydraulic jacks push the machine forward to the next position and the cycle is repeated.

Burns continues: “Once complete, this structure will become recognisable as one of the most impressive looking crossings in the UK. Part of the service to this project involved sending one of our technical support engineers to assist with the erection of the system and to complete site check certificates to allow them to proceed with the concrete pours. This was a highly complex project and after the production of 18 drawings and the same number of design check certificates, we completed a solution to allow the pouring of a new concrete diaphragm deck on the wing traveller.”

Produced in association with Leada Acrow

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