Search

New look for ITFC

PUBLISHED: 12:44 24 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:43 03 March 2010

BUILDERS at Portman Road will today begin to install seats in the lower tier of the new North Stand after the massive main beam was finally lifted into position.

BUILDERS at Portman Road will today begin to install seats in the lower tier of the new North Stand after the massive main beam was finally lifted into position.

An audience of football fans, builders, photographers and members of the press converged on the ground early yesterday morning in eager anticipation of an impressive spectacle that would change the Ipswich skyline forever.

Two massive cranes were in place behind the fledgling structure and the whole operation to lift the beam was to have taken half an hour.

By 9.30am, hard hats and reflective coats had been issued and all eyes were focused on the main roof truss, which weighs 117 tonnes and measures 92 metres in length.

But then, after an hour-and-a-half wait, the lift was temporarily aborted due to an unspecified technical problem.

It was to have taken place at 2pm, but after further problems, the lift eventually began at 4pm.

Bernard Clarke, managing director of contractors Jackson Building, said a lot had to be taken into account on such a day.

"The wind speed has to remain under 22mph or else it is unsafe. We have been constantly monitoring the situation and the windspeed is between 10-15mph. The first thing I did this morning was check the weather and it was 10mph."

The windspeed was monitored from Honnington and the cranes involved in the operation cost around £60,000 a day to have in place.

With that expense in mind, and the problems of getting hold of such equipment, it was crucial that the operation was completed on schedule.

The roof beam, which had been resting on wooden pallets behind the stand for the last few weeks, was eventually hoisted off the ground – more than six hours late.

Two tower cranes using four harnesses lifted the crucial piece of the new £7million stand into place and it means that the rest of the work on the stand can now continue.

Club secretary David Rose said yesterday: "Work will begin on Wednesday to install the seats in the lower tier and this should take around two weeks. Not all the 3,300 seats in the lower tier will be available immediately, due to some views being obstructed by the temporary floodlight pylons".

It's hoped that the lower tier will be open for the first time for the game with Bolton Wanderers on November 18.

With the roof beam in place, work should start on the roof by Christmas, and that should be finished in the spring.

Once complete, the stand will hold a total of 7,000 spectators, with 3,300 in the lower tier.

The club has said both tiers of the stand could be open in time to get one match in this season with a 30,000 capacity, but this will depend on the weather.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Ipswich Star

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists