QuayQuip protects London’s new cable car
In 2011, QuayQuip was challenged by Transport for London and the Docklands Light Railway to design a floating impact protection system for the new Emirates Air Line – an ambitious cable car route across the River Thames. The new link will connect popular London venues including ExCel London, the International Conference Centre (ICC) and the O2 Arena.
Working in close collaboration with the main contractors, Mace, and consultants Buro Happold and Royal Haskoning, QuayQuip had to prepare a floating barrier capable of safely dissipating large energies, and have it ready for delivery in time for the cable car entering service by summer 2012.
The cable car will pass over three towers along the route, one of which rises directly from the Thames. QuayQuip’s barrier is designed to protect this tower from impacts by heavy barges, cruise ships, Thames Clipper river ferries and other vessels, up to a maximum of 13 megajoules.
A combination of elastic units and energy dissipaters forms a tuned, progressive braking system that only starts work above a predetermined load – a feature which prevents ‘misfires’ and release upon trivial impacts. Smaller impacts will be easily countered by the spherical rubber fender mounted at the end of each floating unit.
The barrier comprises two 50m booms of floating units, connected to dolphin-mounted pontoons at either end. The central pontoon forms an extra protective barrier in front of the tower base. QuayQuip supplied the pile jackets and sleeves, ready to be dropped into place and grouted.
Elastic units are mounted in floating capsules. The energy dissipaters work under both tension and compression. Every unit can be reset after impact without having sustained damage, as there are no ‘sacrificial’ components in the system.
In the impounded dock basin of the Royal Victoria Dock, a smaller floating barrier is linked to an array of piles. It will protect the station’s pylon from small vessels.
QuayQuip’s new design is ideal for many other applications, including the protection of bridges and large floating structures.
An overview of the Emirates Air Line project is avaiable at the Transport for London site.
Tower photograph Â© and courtesy of Chris Power.