On a moonlit night, the vast 76 m crane moved its 72 m arm with millimetric precision to position – as if it were moving a twig – the metal frame of the first carriageway for the Milan Outer Eastern Bypass (180 tons / 55m long) with surgical precision onto the previously constructed supporting structure over the Milan-Bergamo-Brescia railway line. The building site in question is the Lotto B-Arco TEEM site, which covers the 7.5 km of the Bypass that will ensure the BreBeMi motorway links into the Greater Milan road network. This area between Melzo and Pozzuolo Martesana was brightly lit with artificial lighting to ensure the utmost safety while the work was done. The railway line had been temporarily deactivated by the Italian railway company (RFI), allowing the general contractor (Consorzio Costruttori TEEM or CCT) a window from 1 to 4.30am – the time between the last train and the first service in the morning – to complete the work. It resembled somewhat the launch site for a spaceship, an area filled with numerous Italian dialects as the 100 CCT workers sought to balance the 400 tons of counterweight used by the main crane. It was a clear demonstration of the desire to build this motorway link between Agrate-Brianza (on the A4 motorway) and Melegnano (on the A1) and to complete the related works (€2 billion in private investment) before the 2015 Expo.
The professionalism on display was apparent, but putting in place this first TEEM overpass – on the Bologna-bound side of the motorway – was also spectacular. It had taken less than a year since the 11 June 2012 kick off date for all the work and was thus in line with Tangenziale Esterna SpA’s work schedule. Between 1.30 and 2am, the giant metal frame was initially hoisted 15 m and then placed perfectly on the spans below, 11 m above the ground. Between mid-June and early August, it will be “joined” by the equivalent structures for the northbound carriageway to Venice and the BreBeMi junction. It was a key moment of progress for this area, where work is being done on both the TEEM and the direct Brescia-Bergamo-Milan motorway. Then, between 2 and 4.30am, the welding teams were able to get to work, using boom lifts that raised them above the tracks. As they worked to fix the structure to the base, the bright oxyfuel flames added colour to the night.
Earlier, an agreement had been signed between TE and the Melzo and Pozzuolo Martesana municipalities for the compensation work related to building TEEM, then in the early hours of the morning highly specialized teams from the consortium of companies making up the general contractor set to work, showcasing excellence from across the Italian building sector. “Everyone worked to perfection,” said Sabino Del Balzo, Chairman of Consorzio Arco TEEM. “It was complex, but we managed it without any problems.”
“In keeping with TE’s philosophy, we put this structure in place without disrupting train commuters or residents,” explained TE’s CEO Stefano Maullu this morning, having been on site since 1am. “I feel that the work done tonight is an expression of the skills of CCT and the commitment of TE to complete this infrastructure work on schedule. By accelerating the work, we have also shown the contribution TEEM is making in terms of employment and development”.