The Emirates Air Line Experience was, and still is, London’s only cable car experience. Located in South London, the line spans the River Thames between Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks. Careys Civil Engineering was appointed by principal contractor Mace to deliver reinforced concrete sub and superstructure works for the north and south cable car stations, along with foundation works for the three tower supports across the river as part of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Works commenced across five sites simultaneously, two situated along the south of the River Thames and three to the north. Construction of the foundations and superstructure for the south side cable car station required careful handling of heavily contaminated land with the site previously hosting a now demolished gasworks. 1m of material was removed and a marker layer added (to identify do not dig below this). All operatives had to use a standard cleaning facility and wear protective gear.
Concrete works to the two entry and exit stations involved construction of complex curved surfaces and specified tight tolerances to casting items used to receive the cable car mechanism. As the north station was built over the river, we worked in close conjunction with a marine specialist who provided safety systems for working over and around water. These included pontoons and a fall arrest system, in addition to safety training for our team.
The supporting towers running across the river were installed on extremely tight deadlines to enable use of a specialist marine crane which was transported from South Africa for the project. As this crane was one of only three in existence, our team’s focus on keeping to a strict programme was as important as ever.
The skirt and shroud used in construction of the towers were of a complex, spiral design and required specialist formwork to be designed and manufactured in Austria. This formwork was then transported to the UK, built on the dockside, moved by crane and installed over water in a precise schedule to take account of tidal movements. Ultimately, the project was completed on schedule, despite challenging weather conditions and an unusual and high-risk site environment.