Lodgemore to Ebley Channel Dredging- Contractors Report No.2 by Chris Spencer
With the advanced preparation works completed – channel widening works commenced in earnest on Monday 14th May.
Waterlogged Ground & Giant Hogweed
The reach between Lodgemore Bridge & Chestnut Lane Bridge had a prolific growth of giant hogweed across the channel to the bank on which we needed to place our excavation equipment.
Recent high water levels had left the banks at saturation point. We therefore deployed specialist low ground pressure – tracked equipment.
Wheeled machinery would have simply sunk to their axles.
The hogweed, complete with roots and surrounding soils, was excavated and loaded onto a 10 ton tracked dumper which provided for onward transport to a stockpile area.
That stockpile was then loaded into bulk tipping lorries for onward transport to a licensed disposal site where the material will be deep buried.
With the hogweed removed the channel widening began.
With a long reach excavator positioned on one side, the channel was excavated and profiled as required.
Further downstream at the confluence weir a second team were hard at work excavating the channel working from Ebley towards Lodgemore. This required specialist long reach excavators with a reach of 18 metres.
The ground conditions were a little more favourable here. The addition of a temporary stone road allowed the use of 10 ton capacity wheeled dumpers to transport the material to the stockpile on the adjacent field.
We made good progress early in the week.
By mid week a third team commenced the very difficult task of widening the channel upstream of Hilly Orchard footbridge. See Mike Gallagher's picture above.
Access for our equipment here is limited by the presence of a very old cast iron gas main running at a shallow level directly underneath where we need to place our equipment.
Nevertheless the team made good progress and soon had the works in hand. Work continues through the week-end
We now have teams working over this weekend to undertake the works between Chestnut Lane Bridge and Dudbridge Upper Lock.
The channel will again be excavated working from one bank, loading the material into dumpers to be taken to the stockpile.
This leaves the area to the rear of the transport yard (where the original canal wharf crane is sited) and up to Dudbridge Road Bridge which will be undertaken over the coming week.
An undertaking… and a plea!
Chris Spencer was asked to sum up the progress and comment upon any important issues. Here is his heartfelt reply…
"We will continue to minimise & mitigate any disruption as much as we can. But we need help to achieve this!
"We request all vehicle users and residents to PLEASE abide by the temporary no parking restrictions. This will allow us to do our very best to complete the works on time."