CHANGZHOU (Daily Mail) - China is close to completing construction of what will become the world’s largest spoke free Ferris wheel at nearly 300ft high.

The shi lai yun zhuan,’ which means ‘turn of fortune’ Ferris wheel, currently under construction in the eastern China measures 89 metres (292ft) in height and has a diameter of 84 metres as well as weighing in at a whopping 3000 tonnes.

Construction work on the Ferris wheel began in 2009 at a cost of $23.8million (£15.5million) but it has been dogged by delays including a six month layoff earlier this year while safety checks were carried out.

Originally planned to open in June, the Ferris wheel is now slated to open in October in Bauhinia (Zijing) Park in Changzhou in China’s eastern province of Jiangsu.

The wheel is being built in an effort to boost tourism to the area. When complete it will hold 24 cars each seating 5 people, according to Changzhou city’s English language tourism website.

The website says the Ferris wheel will have a speed of 16.4 degrees per second, the outer ring turning 0.2 m per second, so a round trip takes about 22 minutes.

Currently, the largest Ferris wheel in the world is located in Singapore, which is 165 meters tall. Construction of the Ferris wheel has not been without controversy however. The Yangtze Evening Post reported in March that construction work had only just resumed after being suspended for six months while safety checks were carried out. Authorities were reported to be concerned following reports that exposure to the elements had left parts of the wheel prone to rust.

Spokeless wheels although striking in appearance, have several practical disadvantages that have prevented their widespread use as an alternative to conventional wheels. They are often difficult and expensive to manufacture, requiring a great deal of precision machining, and the design leaves the bearings and other mechanical parts largely exposed to the elements.

The drive system is especially problematic since a conventional axle and CV joint cannot be used; options include using chain or belt drive. Another option is to house the entire propulsion system inside the wheel itself.

Work on the Ferris wheel only started again after it passed a safety assessment from the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the newspaper reported.

At the time an official with the Changzhou Gardening and Landscape Architecture Bureau who gave his name only as Tao denied construction had been suspended.

‘Workers have been making the components of the Ferris wheel in factories, so there are few workers at the construction site,’ he told them English language Chinese newspaper Global Times. ‘By the end of next month, the construction workers will be back to finish the rest of the work.’

He added the assessment and approval process for the spokeless wheel had hindered construction. ‘Authorities approved an entertainment facility, but due to the complicated nature of this structure, authorities thought it was necessary to reassess the project,’ Tao said.

Tao also predicted the spokeless Ferris wheel would bring considerable revenue to the park and will cover the $23million construction cost.

China already has a poor safety record. Last summer a motorway bridge in Heilongjiang province in north east China collapsed sending four huge trucks crashing 100ft to the ground below and killing three people.

The tragedy came just ten months after the multimillion pound roadway was constructed and was one of two transport disasters to hit the province this week, with a train crash at a railway station on Thursday also injuring at least 24 people.

Among the top 10 highest Ferris wheels in the world, seven of them are in China. The highest Ferris wheel in the world is the Singapore Flyer at 165 metres (541ft) tall.