Building the British Airways London Eye
- Authors: A. P. Mann 1 ; N. Thompson 2 ; M. Smits 3
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- Source: Proceedings of the ICE - Civil Engineering, Volume 144, Issue 2, 01 May 2001 , pages 60 –72
London's spectacular new £75 million observation wheel, the British Airways London Eye, was built in just 16 months in a confined site on the banks of the river Thames. Despite minor setbacks during construction, it first turned as planned at the beginning of the new millennium and has ‘flown’ 3·2 million passengers up to an altitude of 135 m in its first year of operation. This paper describes the procurement, manufacture and construction of the unique structure, which has become a new international benchmark for observation wheels. The challenges facing the multi-national project team and how these were overcome within a demanding programme are explained, together with a detailed description of the Eye's fabrication and final erection.