Assembly of movable scaffolding system begins for Mersey Gateway viaducts

Assembly has begun of a 1,500t self-launching movable scaffolding system (MSS) that will be used on the Mersey Gateway project in north-west England. The machine will be used to build 19 spans of viaducts for the approaches to the new cable-stayed crossing of the Mersey Estuary. It has filled 90 shipping containers and will take between three and four months to construct. When fully assembled, it will be 157m long, 8m high and measure 22m at its widest point. Operation will begin in early autumn. It will act as a concrete mould for the deck of the approach viaducts, which will be constructed in spans approximately 70m in length and over 18m wide. It will begin at the north side, where 11 piers need to be connected, before being dismantled and transported to Runcorn to begin work across the nine piers of the southern approach. Merseylink engineers worked with Norwegian company NRS to design the MSS. It took six months to refine the design and a further five months for the machine to be manufactured in China before being shipped to the UK. Portuguese subcontractor ConstruGomes will operate the MSS on site. The MSS is expected to be on site until autumn 2016. Once the work on the approach viaducts is complete it will be dismantled and recycled.

Consultants named for US$1bn Potomac River Bridge replacement

A joint venture of Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson (JMT) and Parsons Brinckerhoff has won the role of general engineering consultant for the replacement of a major bridge over the Potomac River in the USA. The Harry W Nice Memorial Bridge, also known as the Potomac River Bridge, is a 2.7 km, two-lane continuous truss bridge on US 301 that links Newburg in Maryland and Dahlgren in Virginia. The $1 billion scheme involves replacing the existing structure with a wider, modern bridge in order to alleviate traffic congestion and enhance safety. The JMT/ Parsons Brinckerhoff joint venture will provide programme management services for preliminary engineering, final design, and construction management and inspection. The scope of work covers a range of tasks including completing the bridge-type study, determining the project delivery method and conducting a tolling study. In addition, the team will assist the Maryland Transportation Authority in ‘right-sizing’ the structure to reduce total costs. Construction is expected to start in 2020-2025, with completion slated for 2025-2030.

Winning designers chosen for new Copenhagen bridge

The winning team has been chosen from five shortlisted for the design of a new opening pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Inner Harbour in Copenhagen, Denmark. WilkinsonEyre, BuroHappold Engineering and Urban Agency proposed a bridge that will form a sweeping curve in plan to connect the misaligned axes of two streets, Vester Voldgade and Langebrogade. The project will be implemented by client, Realdania, with the city of Copenhagen. Realdania is gifting the bridge to the city to support the development and accessibility of Copenhagen harbour. Peter Cederfeld, CEO of Realdania Byg, said: "The winning proposal combines a clear and compelling concept with a strong design team to provide Copenhagen with a new high-quality bridge that both the city and its residents can be proud of.” From the eastern quayside, the deck rises up gently to clear the 5.4m-high shipping channel, before descending back down to the quay on the opposite side. At the quaysides, the wing-like boxes of the two triangular steel edge beams are angled downwards below the deck, encouraging views up and down the quayside promenades. As the bridge traverses the water, the wings gradually twist up, maximising the clearance below deck and providing a degree of enclosure and a perceived sense of security at mid-span. The two opening spans have been designed to create an element of surprise as they pivot on their supports and swing apart at mid-span to create a 35m-wide shipping channel.  The full design team comprises BuroHappold as project lead and engineer with architectural design by WilkinsonEyre and Urban Agency. Additional support is provided by Niras, Eadon Consulting and Speirs + Major.

Forth Bridge gains World Heritage status

The Forth Bridge in Scotland is now a World Heritage site. It was one a number of places from around the world awarded the honour in the past few days at latest meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. “Its distinctive industrial aesthetic is the result of a forthright and unadorned display of its structural components,” said the committee. “Innovative in style, materials and scale, the Forth Bridge is an important milestone in bridge design and construction during the period when railways came to dominate long-distance land travel.” The bridge, which celebrated its 125th anniversary in March, has three double cantilevers with two 518m suspended spans between them, at the time the longest bridge spans in the world. Each of the towers has four steel tubes 3.7m in diameter and reach to a height of 110m above high water. The total length of the bridge, including its approach viaducts is 2,467m; the main structure itself measures 1,630 metres portal to portal. Photo by Heritage Scotland (Duncan Peet) Benjamin Baker and John Fowler’s bridge was the first major construction in Britain to be made from steel; the bridge incorporates 53,000t of the material.

Cable-stayed design chosen to replace Knowsley’s ‘sausage bridge’

Knowsley Council in north-west England will begin work this summer replacing the Greystone footbridge over the M62 motorway. The existing crossing – known locally as the ‘sausage bridge’ because of its rounded shape and brown colour – opened in 1973 but has now reached the end of its serviceable life. Its replacement is a cable-stayed footbridge that is intended to provide a landmark gateway to the borough. Councillor Mike Murphy, Knowsley’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: “I’m looking forward to the new bridge being completed and I hope it continues to serve the local community as well as its predecessor.” The existing bridge will be demolished early in August and its replacement will be installed during October.

Second 100t arch positioned for Perth’s Elizabeth Quay bridge

Both 100t arches are now in place for the new pedestrian and cycle bridge under construction at the Elizabeth Quay development in Perth, Western Australia. SRG is building the bridge with Decmil and Hawkins Civil, under the DASSH Joint Venture. The first arch was lifted into place on 28 May, followed yesterday by the second. The double-arch cable-stayed bridge is designed to connect Williams Landing to the newly constructed island at the Elizabeth Quay development in Perth. The joint venture was awarded the construction contract in September last year (link opens in new tab). SRG managing director David Macgeorge, said: “We are delighted to see both bridge arches now in place at Elizabeth Quay. The pedestrian and cyclist bridge will become an important centrepiece of the Perth foreshore and it has been a privilege working alongside our partners Decmil and Hawkins Civil to deliver this important component of the Elizabeth Quay project for Leighton Broad.”  Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA) chief executive officer Kieran Kinsella said: "The new bridge provides a wonderful architectural focal point for the city and most importantly reconnects the popular recreational route around the Swan River.” The next steps in the project will see the deck and architectural finishes installed, before the MRA declares the bridge open to the public at the end of the year.

Eight teams compete for Danish fjord bridge

Contractors from Denmark, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France and Poland are seeking prequalification for the Frederikssund fjord crossing in Denmark. Denmark's roads directorate, Vejdirektoratet, will now assess the applications from eight consortia before inviting five to bid on the scheme. The US$297 million project includes a 1.4km bridge as part of a 10km expressway. It is expected to open to traffic in 2019. The eight candidates are: TBI Infra and Compagnie d´Entreprises  Fjordforbindelsen Frederikssund Contractors - made up of Per Aarsleff and Ed Züblin with consultant Rambøll A joint venture of Rizzani de Eccher, Besix, Acciona Infraestructuras and subcontractor MJ Eriksson JV 3B - consisting of BAM Infra, Max Bögl International and Barslund (DK) with subcontractor Max Bögl Nederland Toto Construzioni Generali with Teixeira Duarte Engenharia e Construções Obrascon Huarte Lain, A joint venture of Vinci Construction Grand Projects, Hochtief Infrastructure and MT Højgaard Munck Group and Mosty-Lodz.

Three spans launched for Mumbai monorail

Three key spans were launched this weekend for the second phase of the elevated monorail line being built in Mumbai, India. The lengths of the spans range from 34.74m to 40.24m and they have a combined weight of about 700t. They cross the Harbour Line as part of the section of the corridor under construction from Wadala to Sant Gadge Maharaj Chowk. The operation took just over four and a half hours to complete. Most permissions and clearances needed to complete the project are now in hand, said Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority joint project director Dilip Kawathkar. Cost of the second phase has been put at US$300 million. The US$480 million first phase of the monorail corridor from Chembur to Wadala opened last year. The two phases will have a combined ength of more than 20km.

Alabama shortlists three designers for Mobile River Bridge

Three engineering firms have been shortlisted for the design of the Mobile River Bridge project in Alabama, USA. Alabama Department of Transportation's Mobile area office congratulated Michael Baker, Thompson Engineering and Volkert on making the shortlist. The I-10 Mobile River Bridge and Bayway widening project involves increasing the capacity of the I-10 by constructing a new six-lane bridge across the river and widening the existing I-10 bridges across Mobile Bay from four to eight lanes. The estimated cost for the new bridge and widening is US$850 million. Six design teams had been selected to give presentations earlier this month to a panel of ALDOT and Federal Highway Administration representatiives. The final design team selection will be made next month following presentations to a seven-member selection panel of local officials and community leaders. Current renderings envisage a cable-stayed structure for the new bridge.

Caltrans begins new study into bolt problems

A panel of leading engineers and scientists has begun an investigation into why several anchor rods at the Bay Bridge in California, USA, have failed seismic proof tests. The appointment of the panel follows the discovery that three out of more than 400 steel anchor rods for the new self-anchored suspension span were unable to carry seismic proof loads. The 10 panel members met with Caltrans engineers last week to begin developing a testing and analysis programme for the system. "These are some of the best people on the planet to help us determine exactly what was wrong with those few rods," said Dr Brian Maroney, chief bridge engineer of the Bay Bridge project. "And we will also tap their outstanding expertise as we determine how we best protect the remaining 99% of the rods." The expert panel will focus on the seismic anchor rods that were previously discovered to not be fully grouted and in some cases exposed to standing water. The panel will help design tests of anchor rod behaviour in environments that reflect potential earthquakes. The threaded anchor rods are part of the bridge's system to protect it during a seismic event.  Repairs had to be carried out in 2013 following the failure of rods securing bridge's shear keys (link opens in new tab).

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Fine Tuned Structures recently completed the design of new apartment building in downtown Charleston, South Carolina