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Tidal test

Versatile percussion boring equipment was used to investigate the stability of a Suffolk railway embankment this autumn which was coming under threat from the tidal action of an adjacent river.

Investigation of the earth took place on a 50m stretch of the Ipswich to Lowestoft railway embankment by May Gurney Technical Services over a two week period this September. Five 150mm diameter boreholes were drilled to a depth of 20m using a Dando 2000 percussion tool and mobile tripod rig. The plant was moved into position after gaining track possession.

The embankment is situated at the very limits of the River Deben's tidal range and there were fears that when high tides retreated the

saturated peat could be washed away with a sudden draw down of water, threatening the bank's stability. Client Railtrack wanted

to know what it was dealing with and turned to consultant Jeremy Benn Associates along with May Gurney, the East Anglia Zone North

extended arm contractor for Railtrack.

The contractor brought its site investigation division, May Gurney Technical Services, to extract material using steel core sample tubes inserted into the boreholes. The effect of weathering to the embankment was visible before the site investigation, but the composition of the soft clays, silts and peat needed to be established for remedial action to be correctly specified.

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