An exciting new observation tower is under construction in Weymouth.
Once completed in July 2012, the £3.5 million Weymouth SEA LIFE Tower will lift passengers above the Festival Pier to enjoy dramatic views of the Jurassic Coast and the Olympic sailing arena.
The tower will stand on the corner of the Pier, soaring fifty-three metres above the ferry terminal. Interestingly, the entrance to the observational tower will be decorated with trivia and posters about the Jurassic coastline to draw attention to Weymouth’s Jurassic history.
Turning through a full 360 degrees, the glass-fronted observation pod will offer an incredible panoramic view of the West Dorset Countryside. The viewing platform has a 70-seat capacity and will ascend gradually along the central column to a height of 50 metres. It will revolve on its axis and guests will be able to stay up there for 15-20 minutes to enjoy the stunning views.
In November 2011, the teams began preparing the groundworks for the new Weymouth SEA LIFE Tower. Works involved sinking concrete piles to a depth of 17 metres on Weymouth Pier in order to provide a circular watertight curtain for the main excavation works.
An official groundbreaking ceremony was held in January 2012, when a huge mechanical digger began the seven-metre deep hole for the Tower’s foundations.
The observation tower boasts an impressive weight of 130 metric tonnes and a central column with a 2.5 metre diameter. It has been constructed and shipped to the UK in sections by German company Huss.
Main contractor for the project is TG Cruse and the architect is Ocean Designs Limited.
SEA LIFE General Manager, Craig Dunkerley, said:
“We’ve been really encouraged by the very warm reception the Tower plans have received from the local population, but we also anticipate significant custom from the crowds flocking to see the Olympic sailing events.
“There should be some fairly dramatic transformations every couple of days from Monday onwards, and it’s going to be really exciting to see.”
Operated by Poole-based leisure giant Merlin Entertainments, the tower will form a sister attraction for the company’s popular Weymouth SEA LIFE Park.
Sea Life Tower celebrates some early visitors
In February 2012, brothers Charlie and Harry were whisked off to Germany and Hungary to meet the Tower designers and see it being built.
The mission was organised by Tower operators Merlin and suppliers Huss. Charlie and Harry made the exciting journey with their parents and met the Huss design team in Bremen before flying to Budapest, where they saw the massive steel sections of the Tower’s central column under construction.
Craig Dunkerley said: “Their grandmother – retired nursing home matron Janet Carter – regularly took them down to the development site and got them hooked on the whole project.”