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Going with the flow


UK FOUNDATION contractor May Gurney Piling has been working on a section of the Rochdale Canal as part of a £23.8M restoration project by British Waterways.

The project will once more make the canal navigable for its entire 51.5km length, from Sowerby Bridge in West Yorkshire across the Pennines to Manchester.

May Gurney is installing piles for a bridge abutment at Castleton, one of the places where the canal was blocked when roads superseded the waterways.

When the old bridge was demolished it was allowed to collapse into the canal, leaving the walls and the foundations in place. The new bridge will allow boat passage once more.

The old walls were heavy sandstone masonry penetrating 5m below ground and would have been a significant obstruction to new piled foundations. They could not easily be removed without major disruption to the road system or to the abundant services in the roadside.

May Gurney was employed by Balfour Beatty Construction's Civil Engineering Division to install the abutment foundations. May Gurney proposed using its small rotary rig to core through the masonry walls and remove the obstructions before installing the 750mm diameter, 12m deep CFA abutment piles.

The firm probed and cored all the pile positions to remove the foundations without damaging services. Using the small rig allowed traffic flow to be maintained in one half of the carriageway during coring.

With the obstructions removed, the abutment piling was a simple operation, completed in under two weeks.May Gurney then transported its equipment across Rochdale to construct a 120m long cantilever bored pile wall to allow other severed elements of the canal to be re-established.

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