Wednesday, April 21, 1999 Published at 11:41 GMT 12:41 UK
Millennium wheel gets rolling
An artist's impression of London's fourth-highest building
The Millennium Wheel project on the River Thames is finally under way after constructors were granted planning permission for the £20m structure.
Project manager Mace has now begun a race against time to build the 400ft-high wheel by January 2000.
But delays have meant that it will not be up and running until at least early next year.
Completing one full turn every 30 minutes, the wheel will give a 25-mile view across the city to 800 passengers in 32 glass capsules.
The structure - London's fourth-highest building - will be built horizontally across the river using seven temporary islands.
It will then be hoisted upright in a 24-hour operation in late August, ahead of its public opening ceremony "some time in January 2000".
These include five massive rim sections, the largest weighing 144 tonnes.
The parts will be brought up the Thames by barge between May and August.
Tim Renwick, of Mace, said: "Building over water is very unusual and hoisting a structure of this magnitude into place is a huge task.
"Imagine a bicycle wheel almost three times as high as Tower Bridge, four times as wide as the dome of St Paul's Cathedral and heavier than 250 double-decker buses and you start to get an idea of the scale of the task."