Page last updated at 09:45 GMT, Thursday, 30 July 2009 10:45 UK

Largest crane to place M74 bridge

Crane
It will take the crane more than an hour to move each beam into place

The M74 extension project is to move forward with help from Europe's largest mobile crane.

The 190ft machine will be used to lift eight large beams which will form the new link bridge over the M8 into place.

A section of the M8, Scotland's busiest motorway, will be partially-closed overnight while the work is done.

The components of the 1,200 tonne crane were transported to Scotland in 45 lorries. It was then assembled by staff on site.

It will take an hour-and-a-half to move and secure each beam.

The work will begin later on Thursday and take several weeks to complete.

Transport Minister Stewart Stevenson is due to visit the site to see the crane in action.

He said: "We can really see the new road take shape now as it begins to span the M8.

These dramatic changes to the landscape will continue over the next few months as embankments are completed and other bridge beams are craned into place
David Welsh
Project director

"This is a fantastic milestone for the M74 completion and will underline the pace and progress being made in delivering this major project."

He added: "The M74 project, one of the largest on the ground in Scotland at present, is providing vital jobs and investment to the hard pressed construction industry.

"Once complete, the M74 missing link will provide improved access to economic, employment and education opportunities for the people of Scotland."

Interlink M74 joint venture project director David Welsh said: "These dramatic changes to the landscape will continue over the next few months as embankments are completed and other bridge beams are craned into place throughout the project."

The M74/M8 link bridge is being manufactured in 20 sections which, when joined together, form eight larger beam sections each weighing 200 tonnes and measuring 232m in length.

If laid end-to-end they would be the equivalent length of four football pitches.

The large crane was previously used to slot the Harthill footbridge into place over the M8 in Lanarkshire.



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SEE ALSO
Ramp closed for extension works
22 Jul 09 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
M74 extension costs rise to 692m
24 Jun 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Work starts on motorway extension
28 May 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
New bridge installed on motorway
04 Oct 08 |  Scotland
Motorway to close for new bridge
02 Oct 08 |  Scotland
Final go-ahead for M74 extension
14 Feb 08 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West

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