To celebrate the Millennium, the largest observation wheel in the world was erected on the bank of the River Thames in central London, and has since proven to be one of London’s top tourist attractions. The project included a pier in the river to accommodate passenger ferries as well as acting as a collision protection structure for the 1,750t tonne wheel.
Beckett Rankine was responsible for the design of the passenger landing pier and temporary arrangements while the wheel was erected horizontally over the river. Negotiations with the marine authorities secured necessary permissions for the project.
The pier is designed to absorb 12MJ of energy in a collision without failure. This has been achieved by the innovative use of Jarret energy absorption units connected to floating cables. Construction of the pier was complicated by tunnels under the site which restricted the use of piled anchorages.