We are using a combination of abseiling skills and a spider crane to repair a decades-old timber pier at Sharpness Dock in Gloucestershire. The work is a race against tide, time and weather on a river with the second largest tidal range in the world – the Severn.
The pier dates back to 1874, when the Dock was opened, and some of its mighty eleven-metre-tall greenheart legs are original.
As a gateway from the River Severn to the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal the pier is exposed to huge tidal pressures, and mainly submerged, so a regular programme of repairs ensures it is kept in top condition.
This year our engineers are using a spider crane to bring in massive greenheart oak planks which will be fixed in place by a team lowered down on ropes suspended over the muddy riverbed.
|Height from river bed||11m|
|Timber for repairs||60-70 x 3-5m lengths|
|Biggest bolts||250mm long coach screws|
|Length of repair project||3-5 weeks on a rolling year basis|
|Tidal range at the Dock||0.6m – 8.65m (can be even higher at certain times of the year)|
Sharpness is one of the most inland ports in Britain and the Canal & River Trust is the statutory harbour authority. Each month the Dock welcomes up to 25 ships bringing in supplies from mainland Europe for the UK’s agricultural industry, and cement for the construction sector.