A huge, 100 tonne piece of concrete, forming a key part of the new £6m Milford Dock Lock at the UK’s Port of Milford Haven has been lowered into place.
The culmination of months of careful preparation, the concrete sill will sit at the foot of two giant new gates that will be installed in coming months. A major challenge for the contractors was to keep the dock and marina open for business while engineers and divers spent weeks carefully digging away at the 150 year old existing dock walls and floor in preparation.
They also had to form new piled foundations either side to carry the weight of the new gates. To avoid disruption the engineers pre cast the massive concrete sill on dry land, before lowering it in, as Rob Morgan, Project Manager of gate designers Atkins explained.
“The precast concrete sill not only reduced the amount of work taking place within the lock itself, but also meant we could be much more accurate in the build. That’s vital as the gates that will eventually be fitted to the sill will require to be fitted within tolerances of a few millimetres”.
This idea came with challenges, particularly finding a crane big enough to lift the huge weight, as Rob pointed out.
“100 tonnes is pretty well the heaviest weight we could lift, so we made the sill hollow. A perfectly accurate skeleton has gone in and we will now fill it with more concrete.”
Ainscough Cranes supplied the massive 1,000 tonne machine to carry out the lift, with many people turning out to witness the engineering feat.
Port of Milford Haven engineer David Thomas said it was a big day for the project.
“It’s been fantastic to see the pieces put in place. This is big engineering at its best, and as always it required getting the little details right. The contractors McLaughlin & Harvey have done an excellent job and now that the sill’s at the bottom of the lock there’s nothing to show for it, which is exactly what we wanted!”
The project to build new gates in the lock is part of Visit Wales’ Coastal Tourism Project, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, to encourage tourism along the Welsh coastline.
April 28, 2014