One of the largest infrastructure projects in Britain is underway in Edinburgh, and Ainscough Crane Hire and Liebherr, the heavy equipment manufacturer, has been a key part of the project since its inception in the winter of 2011. In Edinburgh, mobile and crawler cranes operated by Ainscough have been put to work on the Queensferry Crossing over the Firth of Forth. The main client for the Forth Crossing Bridge construction project is Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government’s transport authority.
The new bridge, which will be called the Queensferry Crossing and which sits alongside the existing Forth Road Bridge (FRB) built in 1964, is under construction to safeguard the cross-Forth M90 motorway corridor, due for completion by the end of 2016. Once complete it will be 2.7 km long and will sit alongside the existing Forth Road Bridge (FRB) built in 1964. The Firth of Forth is an estuary on the east coast of Scotland, and also the mouth of the River Forth to the North Sea. The current Forth Road Bridge (FRB) extending across it was built to handle 4 million vehicles per year. It currently handles more than 24 million. Once it is completed in late 2016, Crossing will be the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge in the world, and the largest to feature cables that cross mid-span. The Queensferry Crossing bridge will therefore be a main transport artery between Edinburgh and the northern regions of Scotland.
Since the start of the project in November 2011, twelve different types of Liebherr mobile telescopic and lattice boom cranes have been deployed on the site supplied by Ainscough. Cranes from sizes ranging from 40 tonne to 500 tonne have been used to lift components needed to construct the bridge. On average there are 8 telescopic cranes on site each day, and in total there have been over 5,500 hire days. At least one model of almost every telescopic crane that Liebherr manufactures has been used in the project. Smaller cranes are used for handling rebar, placing shuttering and carrying out general construction lifts. The larger cranes are called in to lift bridge deck segments and precast sections.
Two Liebherr LR 1300 crawler cranes operated by Ainscough Crane Hire, have been located on the project. One is mounted on a barge situated in the river, which operates in support of the three Liebherr tower cranes. The second machine is based on the shore, and operates in support of the barge, loading out components that are taken to the base of the towers.