Super Crane Lifts Manchester’s New Tower

It took one of the tallest cranes in Europe to put the finishing touches to the structure of Manchester Airport’s newly constructed £16m air traffic control tower.

The crane was needed to lift the 168 tonne sub-cab section 60 metres in the air, before guiding it to its finished position on the top of the tower shaft, to give the tower its finished effect on the Manchester skyline.

The sub-cab is the size of a four-storey detached house and was built on the ground before being hoisted on top of the newly built tower shaft.

Six smaller cranes assembled the 90-metre tall crane to enable it to carry out the works. The crane was brought in to the site on 25 articulated lorries.

The crane lifted the sub-cab onto the column, with two ‘banksmen’ sitting on top with radios, charged with guiding the two 10mm guide rods into place.

When the fitting out of the tower is complete the sub-cab will be home to several departments within the airport including fire watch and apron control, which guides aircraft to gates.

Now the sub-cab is in place the exterior works, such as cladding and getting the windows in place will, begin.

Andrew Harrison, Manchester Airport’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “After all the hard work and planning everyone is very excited that the final piece of the puzzle has been put in place. There is still plenty to do until the tower is ready for use and operational but the installation of the sub-cab is putting the finishing touches to an iconic element of our airport that will take pride of place on the Manchester skyline.”

Due to be completed and operational in Spring 2013, Manchester Airport’s new ATC tower is pre-let to NATS, the UK’s leading air traffic control company, which will relocate its existing Manchester air traffic control operation from its current location on top of the Tower Block building in between Terminals One and Three at the airport.

Paul Jones, NATS General Manager Manchester, said: “We have had the best view of the new tower construction and have watched with interest while the cab has been built alongside it. We are keen now to get inside the building and start fitting it out with all the latest air traffic control equipment to ensure that Manchester has a tower it can be rightly proud of.”

The control tower shaft took just nine days to rise from the ground to its current height of 60 metres. A team from construction and infrastructure company, Morgan Sindall, poured concrete continuously for 222 hours which saw the new control tower shaft increase in height at an average rate of around 27cm an hour.

Dave Smith, managing director at Morgan Sindall, says: “This is a very exciting project to be a part of and we’re delighted to have reached such a significant stage in the development. Morgan Sindall has a strong track record in the aviation sector and we’re currently on site at nine of the UK’s 15 major airports.”

Source: NATS