25 October 2019

Dredging at Ebley and Oil Mills Bridge Tuesday

by: Andrew R.

Dredger Training had variety and trainee learnt how dredging varies and new skills and knowledge are needed.

Those who have been following know we are now dredging at Ebley.  We’ve done 1 cut along the north wharf wall to east of lock gate and bridge and hopefully in 2 weeks will have dredged this section from mid channel to the high wharf wall.  We therefore ask any tugs or trip boats keep to the landing stage side so silt is not pushed by the props from centre channel back into the part we’ve dredged.

Today we cleared some brush and some shallow silt just east of the Wharf first thing to provide a clear approach.

We then attached a empty hopper abreast and travelled under the Mill Road bridge with dipper arm raised up so Patricia was just clear at 1/2 a knot. Lock pin to stop job slewing as a safety requirement.

3 inches to spare, couldn’t do in flood!
“Dead slow and steady” I cried. As should be done.

Then we went to Oil Mill bridge where many will remember this was dug out and new bridge laid across.  There is as Tug and Dredger operators know lots of rubble and muck making the approach narrow and very difficult to travel through.

So as a very useful training exercise we started to dredge this approach.
The very centre channel was deep but very quickly the side we full of rubble, iron work of many types, brush of course  covering many sins.

We saw here the importance of turning the feet out on Patricia for stability.

Yes Tuggers we found bricks, rubble but worse sheets of rotting steel, plastic sheet, very long bent reed bar, 2x2 angle iron posting, piping the list is longer.

Like other bridge approaches when we’ve done it, it will look so good in a few weeks and will be safer on approach and easier to navigate. Let alone a great view.

Goliath’s newish trainees took a nearly full hopper from Ebley to Ryeford upper which would have been challenging but Goliath did it!!

This narrow approach is the very reason we needed Patricia as No.5 would have been too wide with a hopper.