Beams lifted into place on South Devon Link Road Project

6th August, 2014
After two tense days of waiting, a crane finally lifted the three beams into place over the weekend for the new bridge at Maddacombe Road as part of the South Devon Link Road project.

Crowds gathered from Friday to watch the lift of the first of three 94 tonne concrete beams by one of three largest cranes in the UK. Unfortunately, a series of small issues hit the crane during a testing process, delaying the eventual beam lift until Saturday morning.

Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth at Devon County Council, said: "We're really pleased that everything is now in place for the new bridge.  It was great that so many of local community came along to view the lift last week which is a significant milestone in the construction of the South Devon Link Road.”

Robert Richards, Chief Engineer (Highways) at Devon County Council said: “The test process is an important part of the procedure, and during the first phase, the crane showed that there was an issue with one of the pins holding the beam in place.

“Given the size of the load, we needed to be confident that the pin was secure. Repairs were made and the lift suspended for the evening.

"On Saturday, whilst setting up the crane, the hand chain used to adjust the length of the Block and Tackle chain broke.  At no time did a lifting chain break and there was no compromise to safety.  It just meant that we had to wait until it was fixed to be able to adjust the beams to the correct angle for landing.”

Torbay’s Mayor and Leader, Gordon Oliver, said: “The remaining two beams were lifted in over the afternoon and evening, which made for a very long day for all concerned, particularly as the crew had to de-rig the crane late into the night.

"We are really grateful for the support shown by the community, who kept us in good spirits over a trying time. Whilst things didn't entirely go to plan, the patience of local residents during these works was much appreciated and we hope that the lift for the new bridge at Yon Street will be a much smoother prospect!"

Jim Watson, Project Director at Galiford Try said: "Bridge lifts are quite a complex process, so it's not uncommon to have issues, particularly with the weather and high wind.

“In this case, the issue was technical, but the crane company made every effort to ensure a speedy resolution. With beams over 37m long, it was a difficult lift between two cliff faces, and we were content that they took their time to ensure the lifts were completed safely."

Construction of the new bridge at Yon Street is expected to take place in September.