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Wallbridge Lower Lock — Update No. 2

Local expertise applied to the restoration

Wallbridge Lower Lock has been the subject of some heavy duty and high flying restoration activity of late.
A derelict structure, built long ago, on the very edge of the lower wing wall of the lock had to be removed in order that the failed brickwork could be investigated and safely removed.

Local company No. 1

Chalford based Gardiner Construction first installed an interesting propping technique to hold up the sagging wall.
The system carries the quirky name ‘Superslim Soldier — Strongback System’.
(See pictures 1 & 2 below)

Wallbridge Gardiners 1

Gardiner’s site manager Martin Edwards explained…
“The pressure to hold the verticals apart is achieved by an opposite thread system at each end of the cross-bars. We just rotate the horizontal cross-bars until the maximum pressure has been applied — two horizontals per pair of uprights.”

Local company No. 2

Next on site was a crane from Ellis Crane Hire of Brookthorpe, Gloucester. The machine has a 43 metre jib! It was used to hoist Gardiner’s mini digger across to the offside of the lock. The restricted access called for high level skills to remove the sloping ground and the remains of the ancient building .

The small machine was also lowered into the chamber where a pneumatic drill attachment was used to break up large pieces of collapsed brick walling.

Wallbridge Gardiners 3

High level observers

Residents of the nearby McCarthy & Stone’s Stroudwater Court were avid observers from their lofty verandas high above the lock chamber.

The crane lifted numerous loads of slurry covered rubble from the bottom of the lock chamber.
This material was lifted and tipped from a large round hopper. The proportions of this container, with a thousand litre capacity, prompted one observer to comment… “It has the the appearance of a giant’s sandcastle bucket, and it seems to tip just as easily!”

Wallbridge Gardiners 2

Eighteen metres away from the action

The next big machine to entertain the locals was a Komatsu PC240LC-10 Long Reach Excavator. The term ‘long reach’ in this instance means over 18 metres!
This means that the excavator operator is a long way from, and out of sight of, the bucket end of the arm.

Trust and hand signals

Skills involving trust and delicate hand signals from the banksman resulted in many tonnes of material being relocated to a holding area conveniently close by.

Ancient artefacts

Excavation teams are often asked the question…‘Have you found anything interesting?’

Among the artefacts recovered from the mass of material was a stone marmalade jar, a very old, very rusty and battered carbide lamp, probably from a car, and a vehicle registration plate of a more recent vintage.

Does the registration CAD 899 ring any bells with anyone?

Dave Marshall comments…

SDC ‘s Canal Restoration Project Manager expresses his pleasure and thanks.

“We are happy with the progress made. Thanks are due to the recently retired Martin Jones for his sage Civil Engineering advice on the technical aspects of this job. 

“The volunteer teams from SDC’s Tuesday & Thursday Team and the Waterway Recovery Group will now be able to get closer to the coping stones replacement stage of the task.” 

Find out more

Wallbridge Gardiners Cab Cam