A 157m long, 22m wide, 1,500-tonne machine called Trinity has begun work on the Mersey Gateway crossing.

Described as looking like a giant Meccano structure, Trinity is a movable scaffolding system that will attach to the bridge piers and enable the elevated approach viaducts to be built over the Mersey estuary.

The machine will act as a giant concrete mould for the deck of the approach viaducts, which will be constructed in sections (known as ‘spans’) of approx 70m in length. It will take up to two weeks to build each span.

Trinity started construction work in Widnes on Thursday with a concrete pour for the first deck section of the northern approach viaduct, which will lead to the new bridge. The first pour lasted 24 hours and consumed an impressive 160 truckloads of concrete, poured into the 1,170 m3 formwork mould.

It took three months to assemble her on site from 1,200 component parts held together by more than 60,000 bolts. She will now be on site for the next 14 months.

General Manager of the Merseylink contracting joint venture, Hugh O’Connor said “This is a hugely exciting time for our construction teams. An enormous amount of effort has gone into preparing and testing Trinity ahead of today’s concrete pour. We are delighted to achieve this important milestone and get this next phase of the project underway.”

Once the bridge is complete, the equipment is set to be dismantled and recycled. Making it an innovative and sustainable one of a kind!

See how the machine works in the below video:

Watch the full version of the 3D fly-through of the plans for the Mersey Gateway Project below. This includes a look at the route, the main crossing and the construction methods.