SERVICE: Structural Engineering

Opened in May 2018, Icon is Blackpool Pleasure Beach’s latest attraction and the UK’s first double-launch roller coaster costing £16.26M.

Icon was designed and manufactured by Mack Rides of Germany. The design of the ride reflects the congested nature of the Pleasure Beach with limited space for new attractions and, as a consequence, there are fifteen ‘interactions’ where the tracks passes either above or below five existing rides.

Westlakes Engineering were responsible for the substructure elements to both support the track and retain differences in level following significant earthwork profile changes.

By no means a straightforward task, the topography, site access, ground conditions and historical use of the site vary tremendously and required various piling techniques to create the ride supports. These included precast driven piles where access was more straightforward and bottom driven steel tubes and SFA piles where topography and access were harder or where sensitivity of nearby structures was a concern.

To achieve the required level of coordination with other disciplines, the design used a 3D BIM model, produced in Revit, to bring together the track and support structure, the ride safety envelope, the topographical information and geometry of other rides with which Icon interacts.

An iterative design approach was needed to assess the required foundation level for the ride in each location (of which there are 240), against the site levels and other existing features.

At the start of the ride, is a rapid acceleration along a straight section of track. The length of this initial launch meant cutting into a large, raised mound and excavating. Various options were considered for this structure, settling on a driven sheet pile cofferdam wall solution.

A concrete capping beam to the top of the sheet pile wall also serves to support the ride exit and shop slab, sitting above the ride launch.

In certain areas, changes to the earthworks levels provided difficulties with the structural arrangement to existing rides and modifications were required to ensure that supports for these rides were not compromised.

Working within an active theme park, phasing of the new works was key to the ongoing commercial activities for the Pleasure Beach. The site was handed back to the client in sections to reflect the seasonal opening hours and allow safe public access to be reinstated as required

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