Two of the three massive cranes marking the locations of each of the pylons on Halton’s new bridge over the River Mersey have been extended to reach their maximum height.
The largest – the south crane, located on the Runcorn side of the river – now stands at 146 metres – over 479 feet – in height. That is the equivalent of 32 double decker buses stacked on top of each other.
The north crane, closest to Widnes, is now at 129 metres high, while the smaller central crane, which is yet to reach its full height, is a mere 82 metres high.
The differing heights reflect the different heights that the three pylons will reach when the bridge is complete, which will be 125 metres (south pylon), 110 metres (north pylon) and 80 metres (central pylon) in height.
A team of around 25 highly skilled and trained workers are responsible for working the cranes, with five specialist crane operators responsible for driving the cranes at almost 500 feet above the river bed for up to six hours at a time. The team operating each crane will play a key role in constructing the three bridge pylons.
They are used for lifting materials and reinforcements for the bridge pylons as well as for constructing and dismantling the temporary scaffolding works that allow the construction workers to access the site.
The 1,000 metre long Mersey Gateway Bridge is the centerpiece of the Mersey Gateway Project, which covers around nine kilometres of road improvements and a series of major new junctions running throughout Runcorn and Widnes.
The new bridge is on track to open in the autumn of 2017.
Hugh O’Connor, General Manager for Merseylink, said: “I have to pay tribute to our team who are responsible for not just raising these gigantic cranes to their full height but for working and operating them safely, all of which is a hugely challenging and complex process.”
Cllr. Rob Polhill, Leader of Halton Borough Council, said: “Seeing the cranes at full height really shows the scale of the new bridge. It’s exciting to be able to visualise the final height of each pylon – it’s clear now to see how iconic the new structure will be as a symbol for Halton and the north west.”