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Last Updated: Friday, 25 May 2007, 09:56 GMT 10:56 UK
Big wheel returns to city centre
The big wheel
Each ride is made up of three turns of the wheel and takes 12 minutes
A popular tourist attraction has returned to the centre of Manchester.

The 60m (196ft) tall Big Wheel, which offers a bird's eye view of Manchester and the region, has been erected in Exchange Square.

It will operate until early next year and will then be replaced with a bigger one which could become permanent.

The first big wheel was erected in Exchange Square in 2004. During the last three months of 2006, the latest version attracted 70,000 passengers.

The wheel was taken down in January to allow a 720,000 refurbishment of the square and Piccadilly Gardens.

Improvements included the planting of olive and strawberry trees to bring a Mediterranean look to the area.

Big plans

Other touches included 350 blue LED lights in the square and across Corporation Street to the Manchester Arndale.

Blocks with built-in lights have also been replaced with granite blocks to complement natural stone in the rest of the square.

Council leader Sir Richard Leese said: "Exchange Square is an important public space and one of the symbols of Manchester's regeneration.

"These improvements have placed our usual strong emphasis on quality. We're sure residents, workers and visitors alike will appreciate the changes."

The wheel planned for 2008 will stand 300ft high - two-thirds the height of the London Eye - and will be in perpetual motion, with passengers using a walk-on, walk-off platform.

Each ride is made up of three turns of the wheel and takes 12 minutes.


SEE ALSO
Big wheel wins two week reprieve
05 Jan 07 |  Manchester
Fight to keep big wheel turning
04 Jan 07 |  Manchester
Last chance for big wheel rides
15 Apr 06 |  Manchester
Big wheel could move across city
01 Apr 06 |  Manchester
Observation wheel returns to city
14 Oct 05 |  Manchester
City's big wheel goes round again
04 Oct 05 |  Manchester

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