Scandinavian students get a lesson in bridge building from Mersey Gateway engineers
Students from one of Scandinavia’s top engineering universities have travelled to Halton for a lesson in bridge building.
Thirty students from Aalto University in Helsinki – the biggest university of technology in Finland – visited the Mersey Gateway Project during a week long field trip to the UK.
The budding engineers who are studying for Bachelors and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Civil Engineering are all members of the university’s Guild of Mechanical Engineers.
Each year the Guild organises an annual field trip to a different European country, giving its members the opportunity to experience real industry environments that are directly related to their studies.
As the Mersey Gateway Project is one of the biggest infrastructure schemes currently underway in the UK, the students were keen to visit the site and learn more about the bridge construction process.
Undergraduate Tuukka Löytynoja, who is in his third year of a Mechanical Engineering degree at Aalto University, arranged the excursion to Halton.
He said: “It has been very interesting for us to see the machinery that is being used to build the bridge deck. Now we know how a bridge of this size can be built and the challenges that may be experienced during the construction process. Our thanks go to Merseylink for sharing this detailed information with us, which will help us in our studies.”
The group enjoyed a site tour of the project’s 1000 metre long trestle bridge, the recently launched movable scaffolding system (MSS), and the south bridge pylon, which is continuing to rise out of the river.
They also heard from Merseylink’s Design Manager, George Moir, about how the latest techniques in engineering and technology are being used to deliver Halton’s new bridge and road project.
Heikki Laaki, President of the Guild of Mechanical Engineers at Aalto University, said: “One of the best things about coming to the UK is seeing how things can be done differently. It has been a great opportunity to get an insight into the world of civil engineering by visiting such a huge site.
He added: “Visits like this provide motivation for our studies and give us a real understanding of engineering in practice. Thank you to the Mersey Gateway project team for hosting us.”
Richard Walker, Project Director at Merseylink, was delighted to accommodate the visit, saying: “The Merseylink Consortium brings together UK expertise with world leaders in major bridge building and highways projects, to combine technology and best practice specifically for this project. It’s fantastic to be able to share this knowledge and industry experience with the next generation of engineers.”
The economic, transport and social benefits the project will bring to the region include:
- 470 permanent full-time equivalent jobs on site during construction
- 4,640 permanent direct and indirect jobs
- £61.9 million a year in Gross Value Added from the new jobs by 2030.
When it opens in 2017, both the new bridge and the Silver Jubilee Bridge will be tolled, but they will be free* to Halton residents.