Brighton's vertical cable car tower tops out in 10 weeks

7 pictures

The Brighton i360 tower was constructed using circular steel sections, or "cans"

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A 162-m (531-ft) tall observation tower being built in Brighton, UK, has reached its full height in just 10 weeks. It is claimed that the Brighton i360 will be the world’s tallest moving observation tower when it opens next year, and will give visitors views of up to 26 miles (42 km) around.

The £46 m (US$72 m) Brighton i360 project was inspired by the London Eye. Architects David Marks and Julia Barfield designed the i360 as a more "financially viable" attraction for towns and cities wanting a similar attraction of their own. After the initial idea in 2000, construction began last year.

The i360 is actually 20 ft (6 m) taller than the London Eye and the single viewing pod is 10 times the size of a London Eye capsule at around 18 m (59 ft) wide. When construction is completed, the pod will rise up the 4-m (13-ft) wide tower like a glass elevator and will give visitors a 20- or 30-minute ride (depending on the time of day). Inside, there is bench seating and a Sky Bar.

The pod can accommodate up to 200 guests for each ride and is designed to withstand the possibility of all guests suddenly moving to one side. it reaches a height of 450 ft (138 m) and uses a 72-tonne (79-ton) counterweight for leverage.

When the pod is at its highest and conditions are favorable, visitors will be able to see along the Sussex coast from Bexhill-on-Sea to Chichester, the South Downs National Park, the surrounding Brighton and Hove area and, of course, out to sea. A building at the foot of the tower provides additional dining, hospitality, exhibition and children’s play facilities.

The tower was constructed using circular steel sections, or "cans," using an innovative technique that helped to minimize the length of time required for the process. The first few cans were lifted into place conventionally using a crane, but the remaining cans were added in from the bottom.

To do this, a temporary 60-m (197-ft) high "jacking tower" was employed to lift up the completed section of the tower before a new can was slotted in below. The cans were then bolted together and clad in aluminum. In total, the tower comprises 17 cans and, when the final can was slotted into place, the jacking tower was required to lift 980 tonnes (1,080 tons) of completed tower.

The i360 tower reached its full height on Sunday, Aug. 23. The accompanying building is now due to be built, ahead of an expected opening in mid-2016.

The video below shows the tower being lifted up and the final can being slotted into place.

View gallery - 7 images

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