The VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier joint-venture was able to open the A1081 10 hours early, following the team’s installation of an 80-metre long, 1,000 tonne curved bridge, which forms an integral part of the new Luton DART fast transit system.
The bridge, which will carry each DART shuttle over the A1081, was constructed at an offsite location, adjacent to the Percival Way roundabout, over an eight month period. It was then transported half a mile to the site, using self-propelled modular transporters. The structure was raised up using jacks, positioned and carefully lowered into place.
The whole operation was successfully completed over the course of three days and required significant planning and collaboration between VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier, London Luton Airport Ltd and Luton Council.
The Luton DART will be a double-shuttle, fully-automated people-mover (APM) which will link London Luton Airport with Luton Airport Parkway railway station and will be capable of operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Phil Hobson, project director at the Luton DART, said:
“This was an especially challenging project milestone to reach and required a huge collaborative effort between all parties. The team worked incredibly well together to successfully install the bridge.
“Every aspect of the installation was specialised and complex. From setting up the temporary ramps to moving the bridge, which took us over two hours. Each operation over the weekend was expertly planned and we are really pleased to have reached this vital point in construction of the project.”
Ciaran Scanlon, LLAL Programme Delivery Director, said:
“This has been an exciting achievement and a hugely significant milestone in the delivery of the innovative DART scheme. The whole project has been full of engineering challenges and to move an object of this size ranks as one of the biggest. To see such a large object calmly trundle down the A1081 under complete control was a great testimony to both the vision of the project and the technical expertise of our contractor, VolkerFitzpatrick-Kier (VFK).
“We appreciate that many people will have been affected by the road closures needed to allow for this move and thank everyone for their support, patience and understanding.”