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First steel sections arrive for south side of Gull Wing Bridge


One of the biggest cranes of its kind in the world has been set up in Lowestoft for the arrival of the first steel sections for the southern side of the Gull Wing bridge.

The huge crane was in place for when South Approach Viaduct (SAV) sections 1 and 3 arrived at the construction site on Lake Lothing on the evening of Sunday April 23 on a barge from Ghent in Belgium.

We are constructing the bridge for Suffolk County Council.

Fabricated by Victor Buyck Steel Construction, SAV1 is approximately 35 metres long and SAV3 is 41m long.

SAV1 will weigh 105 tonnes and SAV3 weighed 213 tonnes.

The huge crane has been erected on the southern side of Lake Lothing to move the sections.

The Terex Demag CC8800-1 has a maximum lifting capacity of 1,600 tonnes and is one of the largest crawler cranes in the world.

It was brought into Lowestoft from Copenhagen and off-loaded by the crane used to unload the northern approach sections that arrived from the Netherlands last month.

Assembly and testing of the crane took approximately 10 days.

SAV3 will be offloaded first and placed on a temporary base. SAV1 will then be offloaded directly into position on the Southern Approach Abutment and Pier 1.

The barge will then sail back to Ghent to collect SAV2 and SAV4. SAV2 is 30m long and weighs 90 tonnes, while SAV4 is 45m long and 381 tonnes.

After the return crossing – due to take place in the coming days subject to weather conditions – the barge will be moored up and SAV2 offloaded directly onto Piers 1 and 2.

SAV3 will then be picked up from the temporary base and placed onto Piers 2 and 3. Finally, SAV4 will be lifted directly from the barge onto Piers 3 and 4.

Once in place, a site weld and bolted splices will secure the four sections to each other. A concrete pour will then set the viaduct in its final position.

Neil Rogers, project director for Farrans Construction, said: “This week’s arrival of four large sections of the bridge is an important and busy time for our site team.

“A lot of planning takes place in advance of the sections being transported into Lowestoft and, once here, we will be beginning the process of lifting these elements into position almost immediately.

“To have one of the largest cranes in the world on site for this project is a fantastic learning opportunity for our apprentices, graduates and placements.”

Simon Bretherton, Suffolk County Council Project Director, said: “The arrival of these next sections will see the structure take shape for the first time on both sides of Lake Lothing.

“This is another major step forward and we continue to make good progress on building what will be an iconic structure providing a new era for jobs, businesses and connectivity for the town of Lowestoft and the wider area.”