30 July 2009

M74 beaming over the M8 with help of giant crane

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson will visit Glasgow tonight as Europe’s largest mobile crane swings in action to lift into position the first of eight huge beams which form the new link bridge over the M8.

The delicate operation, carried out under partial-closure of the M8 in this area overnight, requires months of planning including the delivery in 45 lorries of the 1200 tonne crane.

Speaking ahead of the lift, Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson, said:

"We can really see the new road take shape now as it begins to span the M8. This is a fantastic milestone for the M74 Completion and, with this first beam being lifted into place this evening, will underline the pace and progress being made in delivering this major project.

"The M74 project, one of the largest on the ground in Scotland at present, is providing vital jobs and investment to the hard pressed construction industry. Once complete, the M74 missing link will provide improved access to economic, employment and education opportunities for the people of Scotland."

Contractor Interlink M74 JV is overseeing the lift, which involves moving eight beams into place over the next few weeks. Each beam will take around 1.5 hours to move and secure under the watchful eye of site staff.

Commenting on this, Interlink M74 Joint Venture Project Director David Welsh said:

"We are delighted to reach this important milestone on the project. The works are already visible and these beams, which will be seen by thousands of motorists each day, will emphasise the significant progress being made. These dramatic changes to the landscape will continue over the next few months as embankments are completed and other bridge beams are craned into place throughout the project."

The M74/M8 Link Bridge is being manufactured in 20 sections which, when joined together, forms eight larger beam sections each weighing 200 tonnes and 232 metres in length; if laid end to end they would be the equivalent length of four football pitches.

The crane involved in the lift is 180 foot tall, has a 90 metre long jib, and a lifting capacity of 1200 tonnes. Over 45 articulated lorries were used to deliver the crane components and assembling these components was a major feat in itself carried out expertly by staff on site.

Councillor George Ryan, Glasgow City Council’s Executive Member for Business and the Economy, said:

"This work is a very visible sign of a city hard at work and making great progress on a project that is vital to the future growth of Glasgow and of Scotland.

"The completed M74 will bring with it opportunities for thousands of individuals and businesses, support East End regeneration and help us deliver the best possible 2014 Commonwealth Games. Meanwhile, the construction phase itself is already providing good quality jobs in a harsh economic climate."

Councillor Marie McGurk, Renfrewshire Council's Roads Spokesperson, said

"It's very encouraging to see the evidence of this major project taking another major step forward. The M74 Completion Project will improve the competitive position of the Renfrewshire economy and Glasgow Airport, attract new investment and jobs, and boost the continuing regeneration of the area."

Chair of South Lanarkshire Council’s Enterprise Resources Committee, Councillor Chris Thompson, said:

"It’s wonderful news that work on the M74 is progressing so well.

"When complete the road will bring with it many benefits to South Lanarkshire and the rest of Scotland.

"In addition, a number of local long-term unemployed people have managed to get jobs and training with Interlink M74 thanks to the M74 completion project and the M74 Employability Partnership is working to generate many more training and employment opportunities with supply chain companies and subcontractors."

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