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Europe’s longest bridge-building machine named in special

launching ceremony


he longest bridge-building machine in Europe

has been named in a special ceremony to

mark another key milestone for the Mersey

Gateway Project.

In keeping with engineering tradition, construction

consortiumMerseylink named the movable scaffolding

system (MSS) at a special launching event at Catalyst

Trade Park in Widnes.

While most machines of this kind can only build

bridge spans of up to 60 metres, the MSS for the Mersey

Gateway Bridge was specially made so it is able to cast

spans of up to 70 metres, making it the longest MSS in


Martin Buckley, operations director at Merseylink,


“According to engineering

tradition, a machine cannot start work until it is

given a name, and the name is usually female.

The tradition is carried on throughout the world

as a sign of good luck for the project ahead. ”

It has taken construction teams three months to

assemble the bright orange machine. This is no mean

feat considering it includes approximately 1,200 com-

ponents, 3,000 actual parts, and is held together by over

60,000 bolts.

Now fully built, Trinity measures an impressive 157 m

long – the length of around one and a half football pitch-

es – and weighs around 1,700 tonnes.

The MSS will now build the elevated road viaducts

over the Mersey Estuary on both sides of the river, be-

ginning with the north ap-

proach viaduct from the launch

site at Catalyst Trade Park in


The MSS will act as a giant

concrete mould for the road-

way or ‘deck’ of the approach

viaducts, which will be con-

structed in spans approximate-

ly 70 m in length and over 18 m


Contractors World UK & Ireland Vol 6 No 1


Mersey Link

Contractors World UK & Ireland