Work to erect the 60-metre tall (197-foot) shaft of Manchester Airport’s new Air Traffic Control (ATC) tower has been completed – having taken just nine days for it to rise from the ground.
A team from principal contractor, Morgan Sindall, poured concrete continuously for 222 hours – from the morning of Tuesday, March 13 to the early evening of Thursday, March 22 – and has seen the new control tower shaft increase in height at an average rate of around 27cm an hour.
This method of pouring concrete into a continuously moving form is known as ‘slipform’ and is the same construction technique that was used to construct the famous CN Tower in Toronto, officially recognised as the tallest building in the world from 1976 to 2007.
Teams of twenty construction operatives worked 24-hours-a-day on an elevated hydraulic platform surrounding shaft, inserting steel reinforcing rods into the concrete and ‘polishing’ the shaft as it grew, to ensure a smooth finish to the structure.
Around 600 cubic metres (m3) of concrete and 65 tons of steel reinforcement have been cast to form the nine-metre wide shaft of the new ATC tower, that now stands 60 metres tall at the centre of the airfield at Manchester Airport in the UK.
Andrew Harrison, chief operating officer for Manchester Airport, said: "The completion of the slipform process is a key milestone for the project.
"After three years of planning, it is fantastic to see the tower take shape and rise out of the ground to become an iconic landmark of local skyline.
"The amazing speed at which the tower has risen is testament to the outstanding work of the project team and we look forward to the completion early next year.”
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 centre from its current location on top of the Tower Block building in between T1 and T3 at the airport.
The new control tower is a stand-alone, purpose-built building, which will also contain an approach radar section and navigation, surveillance and communication equipment – with the base of the building housing a new offices and equipment centre.
The next stage of the €20 million project is to build a ‘sub-cap’ unit, which will house the new visual control room providing 360-degree panoramic views of the airfield.
The sub-cap will be the equivalent size of a four-storey detached house and once it has been built on the ground, it will be hoisted up by crane and permanently placed on top of the newly built tower shaft.
Morgan Sindall worked closely with Manchester Airports Group’s in house team as well as architects, CPMG, and engineers, URS Scott Wilson on the project.