Aberdeen City recently witnessed the movement of a super-heavy pressure test vessel from the harbour to the new Balmoral Subsea Test Centre. The vessel alone weighed 285 tonne, and with transportation trailers and tractors combined, the overall load exceeded 420 tonne. This is the latest vessel to be installed at Balmoral’s hyperbaric test centre and measures some 3.35m in diameter by 11m in length. It can carry out subsea tests to 475bar, 6,890psi.
The load originally travelled by sea from Turkey, and the movement took over a year to plan.
Following difficulties late on in the planning process with gaining approvals to use the modern Queen Elizabeth II post-tensioned bridge, the load was rerouted over the Victoria Bridge, a 137 year old, 5 span masonry arches.
Fairhurst carried out the detailed bridge assessment of the structure to demonstrate the capacity of the historic bridge, ensuring the move from the quayside to the test centre went wholly according to plan. Detailed work was then done in Archie_M software to check the arch and pier capacities of the historic bridge for critical positions of the abnormal vehicle. Restrictions were placed on movements over the bridge including requiring the tractor units to be
placed in front of and behind the load to ensure they provided effective relieving effects as the heavy load travelled over the arch quarter points.