Shura island bridge build

16 November 2022

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Mammoet transports and installs bridge segments to connect luxury Saudi eco resorts.

Saudi Arabia is developing its offerings as an aspirational destination. Shura island is being built there. It is a hub of islands housing a series of 11 luxury resorts on the west coast of Saudi Arabia, in the Red Sea. The designs were launched by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Crown Prince, chairman of The Red Sea Development Company.

Designed by British architects Foster + Partners, the development is located on the world's fourth largest barrier reef system and aims to be as eco-friendly as possible. “The first initial reaction was we want to protect the edges,” says Gerard Evenden, head of studio at Foster + Partners. “What we wanted to do was to look at ways of bringing light weight structures and placing those lightweight structures on an island. Just as islands have driftwood arrive and wash up onto the shore, our idea was that these hotels would wash up onto the island and then they could eventually wash away again if that was desired later.”

In order to connect the island to the mainland the Shurayrah Bridge has been built as one of the main access points for guests onto the island.

Led by the Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC), it appointed Archirodon, a marine contracting specialist, to design it. The bridge will stretch a total of 1.2km and will connect the island to the mainland. A precast yard for bridge sections has been established near the coast to minimize travel distances with concrete sourced from on-site batching plants.

To handle the transportation and installation of 60 pre-cast bridge-beam and edge-beam segments onto piers Archirodon reached out to Mammoet. Initially, it was looking at installing the bridge sections by SPMTs on a barge with the help of SPMT’s suspension cylinders to lift and then lower the pre-cast segments on the bridge bearings.

Having studied the project in more detail, however, Mammoet’s engineering team proposed an alternative installation method by using Mammoet's mobile floating crane concept MTC 15 crane positioned on a barge, thereby creating a 500t capacity containerized floating sheer leg with an outreach of 30m. This installation method was designed to provide significant time savings as it allows the bridge to be built faster by installing one section a day instead of one in two days, and provide more flexibility and accuracy to the operation.  According to Mammoet, the MTC 15 comes in standard shipping containers and can be easily shipped to any port, then assembled and erected in a matter of days. Archirodon’s 210-class barge with a suitable deck load was available at the site, this minimized the costs associated with the mobilization of a new barge and reduced the environmental harm by using readily available local resources.

The MTC 15 was shipped to the Port of Yanbu, where it was swiftly assembled on the barge and then sailed to the project site in Umluj, where its boom was then raised, ready to lift the 400t bridge sections.

At the pre-cast yard Mammoet’s SBL1100 hydraulic gantry, a four-point lifting system, is lifting sections and safely placing them onto SPMTs for the transport to a new temporary jetty. At the jetty, the MTC-15 crane on the barge lifts the segment from the trailers, placing the segment on the bow while on hook and then floats off to the installation area. Once at the location the segment is placed onto bearings on crossheads of piers and the floating crane returns for the next section to repeat the process.

“The combination of creative engineering with a flexible innovative equipment enables Mammoet to offer this unique tailor-made solution for the customer that saved significant time. Moreover, the decreased handling time made this method of operation safer and eliminated the need to build an additional temporary infrastructure. Our collaboration with the client optimized the overall project schedule and ultimately kept the customer’s budget,” commented Abdul Rouf, manager sales Mammoet Saudi Arabia.

Jacques Stoof, Mammoet's global director market development and innovation said: “We always work closely with the customers to listen and understand their requirements to be able to offer the most efficient solutions. MTC 15 on a barge or a containerized floating sheer leg is a testament to that as it provides a simple yet effective way to lift heavy loads, both inland and in coastal waters and can be perfectly suitable to any civil project, on any local river or a lake.”

The MTC 15 has also been constructed by reapplying parts from previous cranes, reducing its environmental footprint. Using sand or water on-site for ballast further reduces environmental impact.