The i360 began to emerge from the ground this week as the first two sections of tower were fitted into place ahead of schedule.
Last week saw the arrival of the first six or 17 steel cans which will eventually form the i360’s 162 metre tower and the three sections of the jacking frame which will make the construction possible.
They arrived by barge on Thursday and Friday before being lifted onto the site earlier this week.
The first can, weighing in at around 80 tonnes, was lifted over the public footpath which dissects the construction site (and was temporarily closed) at around 9.30am on Monday.
The team of expert engineers gently lowered the can into place and fixed it to the existing floor fittings in the attraction’s concrete foundations. The anchor bolt frame, which is cased in 4,500 tonnes of concrete, is fixed to the first can by 72 holding down bolts. Once finished, the tower will be held together by a total of 1,336 bolts of varying sizes.
The second can was then manoeuvred into place and fixed to the top of the first one, ahead of schedule, before the pod chassis was lifted onto site and lowered over both fixed cans.
The distinctive red pod chassis is what the glass viewing pod will be fitted to once the tower is finished. When completed, the viewing pod will be around 18 metres in diameter and be able to carry up to 200 people. It will weigh 93 tonnes, including the 20 tonne chassis already in place, and be able to carry a passenger load of up to 15 tonnes.
The first section of jacking frame – the specialist equipment which will allow the engineers to build the 162 metre tower, was also lifted into place on site this week. The second piece of jacking frame is due to lifted and fitted on Friday.
Work is currently running ahead of schedule and timings are subject to change, but the next pair of cans are due to be fitted tomorrow (Thursday) as long as preparation work on the existing cans is completed by the end of today.
The next barge – carrying the remaining steel cans – should arrive in the sea directly alongside the i360 site in the early hours of next Tuesday, with an estimated arrival time of around 2.30-3am.
Eleanor Harris, the i360s’ chief executive, said: “It is exciting to see the i360 taking shape so quickly. All the planning has paid off and the team is making great progress. We are already ahead of schedule and on track to complete the tower by September.”