The bridge, designed and manufactured by Qualter Hall, has been installed by Qualter Hall on behalf of VSBW, a joint venture of VolkerStevin and Boskalis Westminster, which has a £115m contract to deliver the marine structures and bridge contract for the Port of Dover project.
The bascule bridge has been designed to maintain vehicle and pedestrian access along the Esplanade. It spans the new navigation channel connecting the existing Wellington Dock with the new marina that is being built in in the outer harbour.
The bridge deck is attached by tie bars to a pivoting arm that sits on a pair of masts, designed to represent ship masts. The deck is lifted by hydraulic cylinders that are attached to the pivoting frame. The lifting mechanism is assisted by a steel-filled counterweight section at the end of the balance arm.
The deck is 16 metres long and 15.1 metres wide. It weighs 96 tonnes. It has a mast height of 16 metres and was brought in by a sea-going barge from the fabricator, Victor Buyck, in Belgium. It was lifted into place by a 1,250-tonne rated Liebherr mobile crane.
In addition to the bascule bridge, two sector lock and mitre gates are being installed to provide 24-hour access for marine craft into the Wellington Dock Navigation Channel, and also to provide flood protection during extreme high tide and storm surge conditions.
The sector lock gates, each 12 metres high, and weighing 50 tonnes, will be at the entrance to the navigation channel. The mitre lock gates, each six metres high, 5.5 metres wide and weighing 13 tonnes, will be installed in the middle of the navigation channel adjacent to the bascule bridge.
VSBW project director Alan Hicks said: “This is another successful key milestone within this high-profile project. The close collaboration between VSBW, our supply chain and the Port of Dover, has allowed the installation to take place as planned and ensures the success of the regeneration project for the Port as a whole.”