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Pontoon Project - the first piles come out
 
Today, the 9th December, saw the first of the old piles being removed. Our contractor, Walcon Marine, skillfully manoeuvred Walcon Wizard, their large piling barge, into the space the WJS pontoon used to be with just inches to spare between the river pontoon and the club wall. The display of boat handling even had senior boatmen and lifeboat Cox Phil Baker very impressed!

After manoeuvring into position the barge secured itself by dropping its two large spud legs which penetrate into the mud. Three of the old steel piles that were no longer required were scheduled to be withdrawn and the onboard crawler crane secured the hydraulic piling head to the top of the first pile with its massive steel jaws. When ready they started to lift upwards with the crane whilst vibrating the pile with the hydraulic vibrator pack to release the suction and within minutes out slid the pile, which is then skillfully handled and laid on the deck of the barge.

The first two piles were relatively easy as the barge was able to get directly alongside with a direct lift from overhead. However the more difficult pile was the one closest to the wall which had been driven long before the balcony was built over the top of it, making it impossible for the crane to get a direct lift.

We had thought that they would cut off the top of this pile and then perform a tidal lift where they attach the barge via a chain at low water and then as the tide rises the buoyancy of the barge lifts up the pile in stages.

This is obviously quite a time consuming operation as it ties up the barge over a couple of tides, but the Walcon guys had another trick up their sleeve and if you want to see just how they managed to remove this pile in under half an hour from underneath the balcony you will have to watch the footage we captured from one of our time lapse cameras documenting the project.

The next operation will be to remove the mast derrick from its pile which is scheduled for the morning of Sunday 13th December, an operation that will be coordinated by project team leader Michael who tells us he knows all about dealing with Derricks!

The next scheduled activity will be on the 4th January when LYH and LHC remove the pontoon sections they have selected. Please refer to the photo gallery and time lapse video archive to see what's already happened.

        
December Week 1 - 2015
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