An Iconic Structure - Lune West Bridge

The new Lune West Bridge over the River Lune is perhaps the most dramatic of the 13 structures that will be built along the length of the new Heysham to M6 Link Road.

The reinforced substructure is now complete. The 211-metre four-span bridge will eventually contain more than 2300 tonnes of steelwork with approximately 55,000 bolts needed to secure the sections.

The steel beams supplied by Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd (CBUK) are to be delivered late March to early April for onsite sub-assembly before they are lifted into place by the end of May using one of the UK’s largest mobile cranes, a 1200-tonne Gottwald AK-680-3.  The crane itself is due to arrive on site in mid-April, together with as many as 45 wagon loads of components.

Cleveland Bridge UK Ltd has long and distinguished history in bridge engineering and construction, they have been involved in delivering iconic structures such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Forth Road Bridge in Scotland, and the Humber Bridge in Hull to name but a few.

"This structure is technically challenging, in both the complexity of the steelwork element and the environment within which the works are being carried out" said CBUK Project Manager, Dominic Charlton.

"In order to minimise working at height activities, the scheme developed by CBUK requires the steelwork to be sub-assembled into large lift modules at ground level, weighing up to 350 tonnes. From the north side of the River Lune four single girder modules are sub-assembled and erected, and from the south side of the river there are six paired girder modules. The key benefit of this setup is that there is only a requirement for one main crane move, from the north side to the south".

Once sub-assembled, the first four main girders of the new structure will certainly catch the eye, measuring 71.6 metres long by 1.5 metres wide and 4.1 metres high, weighing approximately 160 tonnes each. These sections will be lifted into position from the north bank of the River Lune before the crane is de-rigged and repositioned on the south side of the river to install the remaining sections and girders.

Key Dates – (correct at time of publication)

Lune North

  • 24th March - A 160 tonne crawler crane (Liebherr LR1160) arrives on site and is      rigged over two days using a 160t mobile crane (Liebherr LTM1160-5.1).
  • 26th March to 11th April (inclusive) - All main beams and secondary beams will be delivered to site via the direct access off the M6.
  • 27th April - De-rig 1200t mobile crane (Gottwald AK680-3) and re-rig on south side of River Lune.
  • 13th April - The 1200t mobile crane (Gottwald AK680-3) arrives on site and is rigged over three days using 160t mobile crane (Liebherr LTM1160-5.1).
  • 16th April - Installation of north span beams including secondary girders will take place between 16th April and 27th April (inclusive).

Lune South

  • 19th March – 280 tonne crawler crane (Sumitomo SCX2800-1) arrives on site and is rigged over two days using a 160t mobile crane (Liebherr LTM1160-5.1).
  • 23rd March - First main beam delivered to site. All main beams and secondary beams will be delivered from 23rd March to 7th May (inclusive).
  • Girders are assembled in pairs at ground level with cross girders fitted and bolted prior to lifting in to place.
  • 2nd to 6th May - 1200t mobile crane (Gottwald AK680-3) is re-rigged.
  • 7th May - Installation of first pair of main beams on to bridge bearings.
  • 7th May and 30th May (inclusive) - Installation of all beams, cross girders and connection of bridge centre span between.
  • 26th to 28th May - De-rig 1200t mobile crane (Gottwald AK680-3).

Members of the public will be able to watch the operations from the safety of the Lune Cycleway situated on the south bank of the River Lune. There is no vehicle access to the area only pedestrian access; the nearest parking facility is located at Denny Beck, off Caton Road (A683).

“We know there is lots of interest in the Lune West Bridge as it marks a significant milestone in the delivery of the scheme”. Said Costain’s Community Relations Officer, Tom Horton.

“We deliberately kept the fencing open rather than solid, so that people were able to see first-hand the enormity of the cranes and bridge sections, as well as the operations themselves”.

The scheme is also opening up its doors for charity on Sunday 26th April 2015. The project team are hosting “Welly Walk” designed to show the community exactly what’s happening on site and how construction of the new road is being delivered, whilst raising money for a well-established local charity St John’s Hospice, and The Costain 150 Challenge.

See www.sjhospice.org.uk/wellywalk for more details.

The new £124.5m link road will connect the Heysham peninsula directly to the M6, providing better access to Morecambe and industrial areas which include the Port of Heysham and the Heysham power stations. It will also reduce congestion in the Lancaster area especially on Caton Road, Morecambe Road and the Greyhound and Skerton bridges.

Gottwald AK-680-3

2013-08-27 Sarens Gottwald AK680-3

Currently the UK's largest mobile crane - a 1,200 tonne capacity Gottwald AK680-3 - will complete a series of lifts as part of a £124.5 million project.

The crane is owned and operated by the UK arm of Belgium based transport and heavy lifting specialist Sarens. The unit travels and works all over the world and has been on contracts as far afield as Thailand and Argentina.

Rigged with a 89 metre main boom, 43 metre back mast and almost 600 tonnes of counterweight, The AK680 will move over 2300 tonnes of steel bridge sections each ranging from 160 to 360 tonnes.

Its boom can raise a 100 tonne weight (equivalent of a Boeing 757) to a radius of 100m.

"There were several reasons for using a truck crane rather than a crawler. The truck mounted crane is much faster to rig and de-rig which was paramount with lifts each side of the River Lune within such a tight deadline. Although now more than 30 years old, the 1200 tonne capacity crane has recently been totally refurbished and still remains the strongest crane of this category" 

Chris Horan, Sarens UK Project Manager 

(Image of Lune Bridge courtesy of Morecambe Bay Movie Makers)