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Ebley to Lodgemore Channel Dredge

Contractor’s Report No. One

From Chris Spencer of Land and Water Services

Aims and Objectives

With the ‘Stroud on Water Festival’ event looming and a canal channel that is currently better suited to canoes than canal boats & cruisers – specialist contractors Land & Water Services have been appointed to dredge and widen the channel to navigable dimensions. Excavation will commence on Monday 14th May.

Completion date is planned to be 31st May – in time for the Stroud on Water Festival event from 2nd to 4th June. Completion works on the stock piles and soft landscaping will take place after the event.

Preparation and Planning

Preparation works to establish work areas, compounds & excavation stockpile areas have already begun.

Ten of Land & Water’s specialist excavators are being prepared alongside a fleet of wheeled & tracked dumpers to move the spoil. Chris is pictured right with one of the excavators.

Fuel bowsers and other auxiliary equipment, including accomodation & welfare units, will make up some 250 tons of equipment to be be on site by the second week of May.

Environmental Considerations 

Land & Water’s entire equipment fleet complies with the ‘Water Framework Directive’. Every machine is fitted with the latest European specification – low emission engines using bio degradable oils.

The machinery is heavily modified for working in wet environments with a low ground pressure footprint.

On board dig depth survey equipment is fitted to the excavation machinery together with high level GPS security monitoring systems.

This work would normally be undertaken over a period of a few months with one team working from a start point to the finish point. However, assurance has had to be given that all aquatic species, juvenile fish & elvers are developed enough to enable them to move to safety.

Therefore work below the channel waterline cannot commence until the 14th May 2012.

Challenges, solutions and the final outcome

Below is Chris's response to being asked to describe the challenges ahead for him and his team…

"Given that the deadline for completion is the end of May, it leaves a huge amount of work to be completed in a very short time.  

"An operation such as this requires military style planning, long hours & full commitment from the site team members. The teams will, in the main, be sourced from the Land & Water group’s staff. However, is anticipated that some local people may be employed on a temporary basis.

"We realise that the works may create some disruption to some people who reside close to the sites. Please be assured that the Land and Water workforce will do everything possible to minimise & mitigate the disturbance.

"The sooner the work is completed– the sooner we will be gone – leaving a navigable canal as a unique part of Stroud’s rich heritage for all to experience and enjoy for many years to come."

Chris has undertaken to report regularly on progress, so watch this space!