31 October 2008

First truss lifted!

The iconic first roof truss has now been lifted into place. After weeks of frustration and waiting, today the deed was finally done. It was a perfect day, a very light breeze blowing from the south west. The sun was out to greet this momentous occasion. A crowd of about 200 people gathered to witness probably the finest ever construction feat in the history of Port Elizabeth. It started with two cranes, the large Kobelco, with 4 cables attached near the back, and the Castle Crane Hire auxiliary crane attached near the front. Firstly, the nose of the truss was lifted. It pivoted on the base connection point on the template. This meant that the centre of gravity moved backwards, giving the Kobelco more control over the truss. It also meant that the truss was in the correct position for it to be attached onto the stadium skeletal structure. Once the correct position and centre of gravity were obtained, the truss was raised out of the template, seemingly effortlessly despite its 60 ton weight. When it was around 30 meters off the ground it was turned to the angle needed for positioning and final attachment. Then came the arduous task of getting the base attachment point (A-point) and the two side connection points (pendulums sticking off the top of the top tier) in line so that attachment at these important points could take place. This was done without hiccup but created a lot of stress for those watching. So that’s it… 1 down, 35 to go. Trusses should be going up at more regular intervals now (preferably one every three days) and, with the second truss already nearing completion and the third now also under way with the two familiar ‘tusks’ in place, this is by all means do-able. So congrats to the main contractor, workers, engineers, sub-contractors and everyone else on site. You have overseen the beginning of the construction of the most technically challenging and iconic aspect of our stadium. You have overseen the beginning of the end.

Here follows a photo sequence and cellphone video of the lifting.

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