A COLOSSAL bridge building machine has completed its final concrete pour on the Mersey Gateway.

The 1,700 tonne machine, which looks and operates like a giant Meccano set, has been working on the south approach viaduct creating the reinforced concrete deck that will be used by 60,000 vehicles per day.

Webster is one of two movable scaffolding systems (MSS), specially designed and built to construct the curved viaducts leading to the new bridge.

The final process was a 28-hour operation as 1,133 cubic metres of concrete was poured into the giant mould to complete the deck of the south approach viaduct.

It has now been moved back one span and will slowly be dismantled over the next couple of months before being transported to Bratislava to join its fellow MSS Trinity, which is helping to build a new bridge over the River Danube.

Webster is 157 metres long and eight metres high and has constructed eight spans of the south approach viaduct.

The massive machine has acted as a giant concrete mould and assembled the spans piece by piece.

It was initially lifted into place with two giant cranes.

Hugh O’Connor, general manager for Merseylink, said: “To have reached this landmark just 10 months after building Webster is great news for the project.

“The viaducts on either side of the river are huge structures in themselves, with the south approach viaduct requiring a considerable degree of engineering and construction skill to build, as well as using a huge amount of material.

“This final pour on the south approach viaduct means we’re getting closer and closer to completing this iconic bridge.”

Halton Council leader Cllr Rob Polhill said: “The work taking place on the estuary is truly remarkable and it is an absolute delight to be able to see such engineering marvels being used on Halton’s iconic bridge project.

“Webster and Trinity have been a great part of the borough’s landscape and while it is sad to see them go, we can really now see the progression of the river construction and I look forward to the bridge opening in autumn.”