The first phase of construction of Liverpool’s new Cruise Liner Terminal has begun, with the arrival in the River Mersey of an overwater jack-up platform to begin site investigations on the bedrock on which much of the new facility will be built.
The platform will be working for approximately four weeks in order to establish the strength of the seabed near to the Princes Jetty.
Over the next four weeks, drillers, engineering geologists and support crew will be drilling a total of seven boreholes into the river bedrock, extracting and testing rock samples, to understand the geological layers present beneath the site.
Geotechnical engineers are simultaneously drilling a further seven boreholes on land in Princes Parade to carry out ground investigations.
The results for both river and land tests will then determine the design of the piled foundations for the terminal, which will contain a suspended deck, and the associated facilities.
The investigation works are funded by Liverpool City Council, designed and supervised by AECOM and performed by Fugro GeoServices.
McLaughlin & Harvey was confirmed in March as main contractor to deliver the £50m cruise liner terminal project, which is expected to take three years to complete.
Replacing the existing facility, it will allow Liverpool to welcome the world’s biggest cruise ships. The project also includes facilities including a 200-bedroom hotel and a 1,700-space car park.
Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said:“ Liverpool is used to welcoming majestic vessels to the Mersey, but this unusual looking jack-up platform is arguably our most critical visitor this year given the importance of the work its carrying out.
“It is a symbolic moment for the next chapter in the city’s maritime future as these site investigations will determine the foundations upon which our new Cruise Terminal will be built.
“The city is working with the very best in the engineering industry to deliver this very complex project which shows our determination to create a world class experience for the cruise companies and their passengers. Much work is still to be done but it will be fascinating to see the terminal begin to rise out of the river later this year.”
The first stage of the project will see the council’s appointed design team, led by Ramboll UK, finalise the design and construction method, including completing enabling works such as the controlled dismantling of the existing derelict Princess Jetty, which has been gifted to the city by Peel Land & Property.
At this stage, final construction costs will be established, by inviting competitive sub-contract prices for each package of works in advance of the second stage main contract award, whilst designing out construction risks.
The main contract works involve the construction on a suspended deck structure and the erection of a vehicular linkspan bridge and pedestrian bridge to connect the new terminal to the existing landing stage.
Also included are improvements to the landing stage, including modification of existing buildings such as the lower cruise terminal reception building; relocation of the building on the northern end of the pontoon; and creation of ancillary buildings for storage and use by operational staff.
The project also includes improvements to Princes Parade to incorporate pedestrian crossing facilities; the provision of terminal parking, pickup and drop off facilities; and supporting development.
Currently, cruises are worth more than £7m a year to the local economy, and 2018 will see Liverpool welcome around 60 vessels, with 100,000 passengers and crew.
An outline planning application for the new facility was approved by the council’s planning committee in April. Full site preparation is expected to start in October 2018.
The council is also in the process of promoting a Harbour Revision Order through the Harbour Authority to remove the existing jetty and construct the new terminal.
The professional team also includes architect Stride Treglown, cost manager Gardiner & Theobald, planner JLL, and landscape architect Hyland Edgar Driver.