Bank protection at Arundel Mill
by: David M.
One of the tasks of the landing stages team is to secure the canal banks in places where a vertical edge is needed, for example for permanent moorings, or where the bank is unstable.
We use interlocking profiled steel sheet piles, 4m long and 60cm wide. At Arundel Mill (between Bowbridge Lock and Capels Mill) at a gentle curve in the route, the bank needed stabilising beneath the towpath.
The curve meant that the piles would be set ‘freehand’, in a groove we dug out in preparation. By placing the whole run to half depth, we can ensure that the piles stay vertical in both planes, essential to be exact as a slight lean towards the inside of the curve causes the error to increase with each successive pile.
On the second pass, most of the piles went in full length, but a few went to refusal and we cut off about a metre. Physically this is one of the lighter of our jobs, as the crane is used for all the heavy lifting. The hard part is backfilling with soil and aggregate – and slicing though several metres of 5mm thick steel at towpath height with the 23cm disc cutter.
We left a newly stabilised bank, and most of our work buried in the ground.
Meanwhile Ron and Nick were finishing the new steps at the Bowbridge landing stage. We have the railings, and will fit them in a few days when the fixings arrive.