Articles & Case Studies

Thirlmere Aqueduct 2007

Posted: Friday 21st November 2008

Specialist Contractor Stonbury Ltd successfully completed the 1.3M contract for United Utilities to refurbish five pipe bridge crossings and two conduits along the Thirlmere aqueduct between Kendal and Preston. Co-ordination took place with United Utilities, Montgomery Watson, Environmental Agency and landowners/ farm tenants.

Poor access to many sites required temporary roads to be laid and 4x4 vehicles were used along with helpful landowners assisting with an array of farm vehicles.

The bridges carry 4 cast iron and steel pipes (42 to 48 Diameters) over rivers and streams. The project took place between July and October as per instructions from the Environmental Agency so as not to interfere with the fish spawning season, this then required working 7 day weeks for 15 weeks to complete within the tight programme.

Design elements included scaffolding which had to be suspended from the bridges to avoid impeding the flow of several fast flowing rivers which were liable to flood in extreme weather conditions.

The scaffolding was encapsulated with shrink wrapped heat sealed sheeting to prevent any waste or debris entering the water courses or surrounding land and protect the works and operatives from the Cumbrian elements.

2007 was in fact the wettest summer on record with rain experienced every day for the first 28 days of the contract and numerous other occasions throughout the 15 weeks.

All steelwork and cast iron pipe work, I beams, walkways and hand railing were blast cleaned to remove the existing coating, bitumen and surface corrosion by means of a unique dustless blasting unit designed to be environmentally friendly.

A high performance coating system was applied designed to provide a 20 year maintenance free life; this was a surface and moisture tolerant high build solvent free epoxy system with a polyurethane finish for colour retention and u/v protection.

Fabrication and installation of new bearings was required as the old roller bearings had gone beyond their serviceable life. These were replaced with a new beam and saddle arrangement.

Exposed rivets at the pipe joints were coated and further protected with sealed split couplings. Additional work included leak sealing to the pipes and strengthening of beams where they had corroded through.

Cast iron walkway sections were lifted, coated and replaced with hand rails being coated and extended for safety reasons.

The project was completed to the satisfaction of all parties, on time and within budget.

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