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Luton Borough Council

03/12/2019 - Luton's DART bridge move a fantastic success

The graceful looking DART Gateway Bridge is now firmly in place across the A1081 after a perfectly executed move and installation over the weekend.

Follow this link to see stunning drone footage of the move.

​The 1,000 tonne structure was built off site near the Percival Way roundabout and rolled down into position. The move, which had been exhaustively planned using the latest computer simulation tools, took approximately just over two hours. The 80m long, 20m wide and 25m high tall bridge began the final journey between 8am  and 9am and reached its destination between 10am and 11am on Saturday.

Once in place, it was then eased into position using heavy duty jacking tools in a process that took a further four hours, followed by an extensive post-move “clean-up” operation to restore the roads to normal. The whole operation was executed flawlessly and the A1081 was opened 10 hrs ahead of schedule.
Ciaran Scanlon, LLAL Programme Delivery Director, said: “This has been an exciting achievement and a hugely significant milestone in the delivery of the innovative DART scheme. The whole project has been full of engineering challenges and to move an object of this size ranks as one of the biggest. To see such a large object calmly trundle down the A1081 under complete control was a great testimony to both the vision of the project and the technical expertise of our contractor, VolkerFitzpatrickKier (VFK).
“We appreciate that many people will have been affected by the road closures needed to allow for this move and thank everyone for their support, patience and understanding.”
Once operational in 2021, the £225m Luton DART (Direct Air-Rail Transit) will speed travellers from Luton Airport Parkway station to the terminal of London Luton Airport in well under four minutes.
Passengers will be able to travel between St Pancras and London Luton Airport in just 30 minutes using the fastest trains, then transferring easily to the Luton DART. The scheme will be a double-shuttle, fully-automated people-mover, based on the latest system technology and design innovation, capable of operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The cable-driven system is energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It will contribute significantly to LLAL’s target of encouraging at least 45 per cent of all travellers to the airport to use public transport.
Phil Hobson, VFK’s project director at the Luton DART, said: “This was an especially challenging project milestone to reach and required a huge collaborative effort between all parties. The team worked incredibly well together to successfully install the bridge.
“Every aspect of the installation was specialised and complex. From setting up the temporary ramps to moving the bridge, which took us over two hours . Each operation over the weekend was expertly planned and we are really pleased to have reached this vital point in construction of the project.”
Clare Armstrong Head of Passenger Services at London Luton Airport said: “We’d like to thank our passengers for their patience this weekend while this vital work was carried out. Thanks to some thorough planning and great team work from everyone involved we were able to keep disruption to a minimum. We look forward to our passengers enjoying the benefits of this work when the DART opens in 2021”.
The project is being funded and delivered by Luton Council’s airport company, London Luton Airport Ltd (LLAL).
© 2020 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ