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Sunday, 29 September 2013

Bridging The Gap

For the last few months engineers have been building a giant steel bridge at the side of the Queens Medical Centre hospital. It has been designed to go over the very busy A52 and will carry the new tramline from the city centre to Beeston, which as I've been showing you lately, is a bit of a bombsite at the moment.

As Gail works at the hospital, she was told when the bridge was going to be moved. Of course the press got to know too, so there has been a bit of a buzz around the event which happened last night between 8pam and 6am this morning.

We both wanted to see the event, but sadly, it clashed with a long standing dinner invitation, and we couldn't let Rupert and Kay down, especially as they are the Disco Prophets.

So we stopped off enroute to see what was happening. A small audience had started to gather, but the A52 was still open. So we left and went off to Sherwood, where the Disco Prophets live.

We Returned to Dunkirk and the QMC and were shocked and disappointed that the bridge had been moved into place, but hadn't been lowered into position yet. All the engineers were looking at the position of the bridge in relation to its final resting place. Minute adjustments kept taking place.

The bridge had been transported on two giant remotely controlled platforms, each one having 96 wheels. Which you clearly need with the structure weighing in at a mighty 1000 tonnes.

The bridge had been raised on some sort of elevator contraption, which blocks of metal were slotted in as the lifting device (one at each corner) pushed the bridge up the 19 metres to meet the supports.

It was strange not seeing any cars going over the Dunkirk flyover. Instead people were walking, cycling and playing on the busy dual carriageway. Gail and I had a walk up to the top ourselves. Certainly got a different perspective of the surrounding area.

We stayed out till gone 3am. The bridge had finally been lowered into position. And the construction crew posed for a team photograph.

The giant loaders were then driven away very slowly. They looked like one of the vehicles that appeared in Thunderbirds. It seemed odd seeing them being driven like a radio controlled car, rather than a man sitting in a cab. I suppose it is done for safety. Just in case the load topples over or something.

I'm not an advocate of the tram for various reasons, but I have to admire the technical skills in building and placing the bridge. They just have to paint it now. Just to make it a little more pleasing to look at. Rather than the dull grey that it is at the moment.