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Sark's ancient clifftop pathway stabilised

SPECIALIST roped access contractor CAN Geotechnical has just finished an unusual rock stabilisation project in a remote part of the Channel Islands.

Three operatives from the firm installed 100, 1.5m to 2m long dowels in the cliff face of La Coupee, the isthmus which connects the islands of Big Sark and Little Sark.

The narrow land bridge was reduced to only 0.6m wide by a landslide in 1811. Since then, work has been carried out to maintain a pathway between the islands to allow access to Little Sark for foot traffic and farm animals.

The most recent major rebuild was in 1945 by the Royal Engineers who constructed a 2.5m wide concrete paved surface. However recent erosion has led to undercutting of the path.

Consultant Arup Geotechnics advised remedial measures were needed, with rope access methods the only practicable solution for the site.

The dowels installed by CAN held weldmesh reinforcement in place before sprayed concrete was applied. Six stainless steel tie bars were also installed to maintain the integrity of the pathway support structure. An area of the rock face was netted using mesh supplied

by geosynthetic manufacturer Maccaferri.

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