Work has begun to install the giant steel gates that will greet all fans on their arrival at the Everton Stadium site.
The first of the manufactured units made the short journey to Bramley-Moore Dock, before being lifted into one of three pedestrian access holes cut into the Grade II Listed wall on the eastern boundary of the site.
And the galvanised steel gates will soon blend into their new surroundings after having original elements of the wall reinstated around it.
Andy Cunliffe, Contracts Manager for Liverpool-based Warbreck Engineering, who manufactured the steel gates less than half a mile from the stadium site, said: “We are literally a within a stone’s throw of the new stadium and it’s very important that work is kept local.
“That helps keep the skill set here by employing local people. That, in turn helps the general community and the local economy and, as an Evertonian, I’m very proud to be involved in something that will be a historic landmark.
“This is just one of six entrance gates that are being made and eventually, when they’re all installed, they’ll be in keeping with the heritage and environment around them.
“The design is sympathetic to the wall, because when they are secured in placed and the original stonework is in place, the gates will almost blend into their surroundings.
“With up to 53,000 people coming and going, there have also been design techniques incorporated, which allow the bi-fold gates to wrap around the walls and allow a smooth flow of people in and out of the stadium footprint.”
The three main pedestrian access points on Regent Road are central to the flow of all visitors to the stadium, as all entry will be via the eastern side of the site.
Penetrations were made through the historic wall early in the build, with each stone removed being catalogued, photographed and numbered for later reintroduction, wherever possible.
And with the help of heritage specialists, the final aim is to ensure the steel gates are wholly sympathetic to the appearance of the historic structure.
Tom Stove, Contracts Manager for Specialist UK Restorations, based in Ormskirk, explained: “The boundary wall is Grade II Listed and our aim is to make everything look as uniform as possible throughout, so that the new installations blend in and are sympathetic to everything around it.
“When the framework is positioned centrally to the cut-out, we will basically fill in the existing stone down the sides and across the top, so you won’t see any of the top beam.
“All the original bricks we removed have been numbered, especially the coping stones, so they will all be going back in their original position and blend back in.
“It’s going to be a unique feature that you won’t find in a stadium anywhere else in the world.”
Tom, who is also an Evertonian, added: “The heritage aspect of the site is so important. I’ve been here since day one and to see it all transform from a dock to what’s behind us now, including the Hydraulic Tower, which we’ve been working on as well, has been great.
“It’s been difficult at times, but equally a pleasure to be a part of. Putting everything back to how it was brings a great feel to the stadium.”
Chris Spragg, Project Leader for Laing O’Rourke added: “It’s great to be working with local sub-contractors, using their specialist knowledge to ensure we deliver the best solutions for this unique aspect of the project”.