In the early hours of Saturday 17th June, London’s largest heavy lifting crane made history at Earls Court when it completed the largest single lift ever undertaken in the UK. The lift marks the halfway point in the project that will continue throughout 2017 to prepare the site for future construction.
The crane (technical name AL.SK190, for any crane lovers out there) lifted a portal beam nicknamed ‘Big Bertha,’ weighing in at a colossal 1,500 tonnes – the equivalent of 118 London buses. The Earls Court project team, managed by Capco’s construction partner, Keltbray, have been making preparations to remove the 32m long, 5m wide portal beam since 2014, however on the day, the lift took just 2.5 hours to complete.
At 120m high, the crane is more than twice the height of Nelson’s Column. It will lift 61 portal beams from the London Underground lines that lie below the former Earls Court exhibition centres before the end of the year. Designed and manufactured by specialist engineering firm, ALE, the crane was chosen to minimise the impact on local residents, and reduce the project’s carbon footprint. It will shorten the enabling works timescales by an impressive two years.
Mike Hood, Group Development Director at Capco said about the lift:
“The removal of ‘Big Bertha’ was a particularly significant milestone, not only because it was the largest portal beam to be removed on site but also because it was the single largest lift in UK history. We are thrilled to be marking this milestone as we move closer to the construction of new homes and the Lost River Park.”