With the first jacking session approaching, interest in the i360 shows no sign of ending.
Earlier this week a film crew from BBC South East visited the site and was given a behind-the-scenes tour of the jacking tower.
Reporter Mark Sanders and his cameraman were shown round the construction site by Dr John Roberts, the i360’s chief engineer, and also spoke to David Marks, one of the architects behind the tower, and Neal Mardon, the project manager steering the tower build.
The tour began with a ride on the winch lift to the top of the jacking tower which, at 60metres high, is still more than 100metres lower than the i360 will be when the tower is finished.
The tour party was then taken to each level of the jacking tower, starting with the cladding room. This is where a team from James and Taylor, the specialist cladding firm, is meticulously adding perforated panels to the side of each tower can. The cladding is an important part of the tower and, during Wednesday’s tour, the team was busy working on Can 16. There are more than 320 panels of cladding that will need to be added in this room over the next couple of months.
One stage lower and the group was treated to a close up look at the strand jacks and the hydraulic system which will raise the tower to allow the engineering team to insert more cans.
An explanation of how the jacking tower works is available online HERE.
Neal Mardon, Hollandia’s project manager, explained to the BBC how his section works, reassuring the tour group that cables used are neatly fed through channels so that there is no risk of anything getting caught.
A little lower and Dr John Roberts was able to demonstrate how the jacking tower will lift the cans. Visitors to the site will have spotted a red ring around the tower. This is the collar that clamps on to each can. A close up look made it easier to see exactly how this clamping will work and how it is attached to the cables.
Back down on ground there was a chance for some facts about the bolts that hold the tower in place and a further opportunity for the BBC to talk to David Marks and get a greater understanding of just how important the first jacking lift is for the project.
As he explained: “It’s the next big milestone – a huge feat of engineering.”
Every stage of the build is planned in minute detail and the schedule has time built into it to allow for any less-than-perfect weather. The first jacking lift is now planned for Saturday, with the build team still ahead of schedule.
To watch BBC South East’s report, CLICK HERE.