Landing Stages Team too busy to blog . .
by David M.
With lots going on, sometimes it is easier to await the next milestone - or the next one. However, an update from the Landing Stages team is overdue.
The stage below Bowbridge was complicated by the need to rebuild the high stone wall retaining the towpath. We also found that the steps platform comprising several tons of hardcore had a tendency to shift, and a new construction was required. Therefore, we have removed the original steps, the sheet-piled edge and hardcore, and replaced with steel OBB piles to support timber steps, which are being made.
On up to Griffin Lock, where we had to dig out an exceptionally large bank of dredging spoil, and deposit it on the opposite side, pushing the barge across for each clamshell load and hauling it back again, keeping us fit! We found that the best solution for steps from high towpath is to place a square of four piles for the top platform, then wooden steps down to the stage deck. The job was finished off with railings salvaged from Dudbridge.
Getting to Ham Mill was interesting, as a bund was in place for offside access for an excavator. Our crane lifted out the bog mats, and the excavator made a channel to get the barge through with a gentle push. Below Ham Mill Lock, the towpath is only about half a metre above water, but the stage is tucked in close so we used more steel sheets to retain the towpath. The deck frames have been constructed, but we are delaying completion until the under-deck weed reduction strategy has been reviewed.
The team has also become a key part of the solution to fix the Ham Mill landslip just below the bridge, with a combination of screw piles angling a few degrees below horizontal, faced with a vertical wall of sheet piles. While materials are awaited, the barge was hauled through the bund and back down to Bowbridge, where replacement of the steps platform was done. Our next job will be bank protection using sheet piles at Arundel Mill, before hauling back to Ham Mill Lock.