This weekend saw the safe and successful installation of the new Sam Thompson Bridge in East Belfast. The much anticipated bridge is a major link within the Connswater Community Greenway[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][1], and has been named after local shipyard worker and playwright, Sam Thompson, whose most famous work was the aptly named ‘Over the Bridge’.


The 62 m span bridge was fabricated in modules, and erected in a temporary staging area by local structural steelwork contractor, M. Hasson & Sons Limited. Following assembly, including site welding and completion of painting, the bridge was readied for installation at night, following closure of the runway at neighbouring George Best Belfast City Airport.

The lift was conducted by Sarens UK of Middlesbrough, contracted by local firm, Quigley Crane Hire of Limavady.  In light of the weight of the assembled bridge, the lift radius and set-down radius, Sarens provided their 1,200 tonne capacity Gottwald AK680-3 – among the largest mobile cranes in the UK. The operation faced a number of challenges including the proximity of the airport, restrictions on crane out-rigger spread, local traffic and adjacent businesses, and a tight project timetable.

MMI’s Ballymena office provided lift planning support, and undertook design of the slinging spread and lifting padeyes.


Following completion of the concrete abutments by Main Contractor, BSG Civil Engineering of Maghera, and with uncharacteristically favourable weather conditions, the Sam Thompson Bridge was lifted into its final position this weekend. It will surely become a welcome connection for the people of East Belfast and beyond.

Click here for a timelapse of the installation.