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Turkey’s 1915Çanakkale bridge opens ahead of schedule

The 1915Çanakkale Bridge was officially opened in a ceremony attended by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Friday 18 March 2022.

Taking its place as the world’s longest mid-span and highest tower suspension bridge, the 1915Çanakkale Bridge was completed 18-months ahead of schedule, in part due to the innovative heavy lifting crane solution developed by Australian craneage experts, Marr Contracting.

Soon after the Turkish Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport General Directorate of Motorways appointed the Turkish-Korean joint venture partners – DL E&C–Limak–SK ecoplant–Yapi Merkezi (DLSY) – as the construction partners on the project in 2017, DLSY contacted Marr Contracting for a craneage solution to match how they wanted to construct the project.One of multiple subcontractors from a global team of companies engaged to work on the project, Marr’s scope of works on the construction of the 318-metre high bridge towers included engineering the heavy lift crane solution involving its integration into the temporary and permanent works, the supply of two M2480D cranes (including installation, climbing, dismantle and maintenance), and crane operation.

According to Marr Contracting Managing Director, Simon Marr, early engagement with the DLSY during the front-end engineering stage of the project was key to the project’s success and the constructor’s ability to align a crane solution with their construction methodology.

“The construction schedule was critically important and DLSY wanted to reduce their construction time. They invited us in early to discuss their ideas about their planned construction methodology which was based on traditional construction thinking involving a greater number of lighter lifts. To build the bridge towers, they were going to lift panel after panel, weld them and go again, but we said ‘what if those panels were modularised, joined together in pieces up to 160 tonnes, and we lift them in one piece?’,” Marr said.

Marr’s innovative approach – using two of the world’s largest capacity heavy lift luffing tower cranes, (the 330-tonne capacity M2480D) – allowed for pre-fabricated, modularised panels weighing up to 160 tonnes to be manufactured off site, transported to site to be lifted in one piece.

“This meant DLSY only had to do around one-eighth of the lifts planned and the sheer lifting capacity of our M2480D cranes allowed for fewer, heavier crane lifts. This helped to de-risk the project and protect the construction schedule because off-site assembly is faster, safer and more accurate, than welding multiple sections at height,” Marr said.

Marr’s 18-month engagement on the project between 2019 and 2021, saw two world first engineering feats – the placement of the two M2480Ds in a single lift operation 1km offshore in the Canakkale Strait and the heaviest crane lift at height during the positioning of the upper cross beams on the bridge towers – as well as numerous other innovations to integrate the heavy lift tower crane engineering into the project and minimise critical path impact to the construction schedule.

“We are incredibly proud to have been part of this amazing project and the successes achieved for Marr and our client is a case study in how early engagement and true collaboration can drive a successful outcome on any large-scale construction project. We continue to use the same way of thinking in our engagement with clients to deliver similarly successful outcomes across a range of different sectors in Australia and around the world,” Marr said.

Speaking at the opening, Turkish Transport Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu said: “Our country is one step closer to joining the world’s largest players in investment, production, export and employment. The 1915Canakkale Bridge has become a masterpiece that seals our glorious history as a monument, in a way that befits the memory of the epic battle of Canakkale. Now, instead of a few hours, passing the Dardanelles Strait only takes six minutes.

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