First part of Gull Wing bridge transported to Lowestoft
Lowestoft, United Kingdom – We have been fabricating large bridge sections for the new Gull Wing bridge in our workshops in Eeklo and Wondelgem since last summer. The scheme consists of two approach viaducts - north and south - and the central rolling bascule bridge. This central part is a mobile bridge, allowing the ships with unlimited height to pass through.
We finished and transported the first part of the North Approach viaduct. It weighs around 300T and is 55m long. The viaducts are curved in plan and in height, increasing complexity of the fabrication. The bridge structure consists of steel plates, which are welded together and covered with paint. Shear studs on the top flanges will later form a rigid connection with the reinforced concrete deck. By moving the majority of the work inside in controlled working areas, we can deliver high quality work on a tight schedule.
We moved the bridge part from our Wondelgem workshops on a transport barge with SPMTs. These self propelled modular transporters allow us to move around large and heavy structures in a safe and controlled manner. We then towed the barge over the Ringvaart, Ghent-Terneuzen Channel, Westerschelde and the English channel to the port of Lowestoft.
We entered the port of Lowesoft on a slack tide and crossed the narrow bridge opening of the existing bridge, into the river port. We moved the bridge part onto the North Quay, crossing Commercial Road and set it down on a series of temporary trestles. Mammoet UK and HEBO Maritiemservice are supporting us in these operations.
A concrete deck will now be poured on the steel structure, thereby quadrupling its weight. Later this year, after completion of the deck, the bridge part will be installed on its piers above the East-Suffolk railway line.
The Gull Wing bridge will become the third crossing over Lake Lothing in Lowestoft, relieving traffic on the existing bridges and adding a major landmark to the city.
Victor Buyck Steel Construction fabricates and installs the structural steelwork of the approach viaducts and the bascule bridge sections of the Gull Wing bridge, crossing Lake Lothing. The main contractor is Farrans Construction, the client is Suffolk County Council.