The first task was to find the best spot to span the gorge, somewhere with enough flat land at similar levels on both sides and solid rock foundations to build on. Then all the materials, equipment and workers had to be transported into this remote wilderness.
The footings of the bridge were set, and cable anchors thrust 12 metres into rock – no mean feat in itself. Then four, 12-metre, 1.2-tonne towers were hoisted into place by helicopter before the suspension cables could be strung out between them. And that’s when the really interesting work began!
The suspension cables, more than 200 metres long, were laid out on the ground and lifted into the air by chopper. With only millimetres to spare either side, the cable was laid on top of the tower in an amazing feat of precision piloting. The helicopter then had to fly backwards across the ravine and guide the cable gingerly onto the tower on the other side. And then the whole process had to be repeated for the second cable.
For the construction team, this was no ordinary nine-to-five job. With a trapeze artist’s head for heights, they dangled below helicopters in cages to attach fixings, or crawled along the bridge deck closing the gap one plank at a time. Looking on the plus side, every bridge completed made the commute to work a lot easier!