Montgomery Canal Restoration Work Party Report - April 2010
April 10 & 11
Spring arrived this month with two days of beautiful sunshine, meaning that some volunteers went home with their first sunburn of the year!
For a week between the two work parties, two lucky volunteers were trained in the use of the digger by a LANTRA Instructor. During their training they were able to undertake practical work as well as specific training exercises, including levelling a new road on the offside for the dumpers, levelling of a large area of the soil tip and installation of bunds on the new road and soil tip to improve safety for the dumpers. Both volunteers passed with flying colours.
At Pryces Bridge, preparation work continued for the concrete including proper shaping of the channel away from the bridge. Before this could commence, the area had to be pumped clear of water. Despite the recent dry weather, there was a large amount of standing water and it became clear that a large amount of pumping will be needed every month, although it is hoped that the concrete under the bridge will help reduce the amount of water seeping through from the other side of the bridge.
Levels were then determined with the use of a theodolite and a small forest of stakes re-appeared giving the bottom level, position of the bottom of each side slope and angle of each slope. The Society's digger then started shaping the base of the channel away from the bridge, excavating the bottom of the channel first. Where we are currently working, there is a significant amount of soil to remove to reach the required levels. Even with a hired 2.5 tonne dumper, a single dumper load doesn't appear to make much of an impression. However, the newly-trained digger and dumper drivers were able to take turns and work on the excavations for most of the weekend. By the end of Sunday several metres had been excavated, and moved to the spoil heap, although final shaping is still required.
With the return of the warmer weather, work could restart on the battered wall. Progress got off to a rapid start, and two mixers were in operation churning out lime mortar and limecrete at top speed. Good progress was made on completing the section from Pryces Bridge to the culvert, with the emphasis being on completing the section opposite the new bridge over the drainage ditch. This was essential to ensure that the wall builders are not working where the dumper trucks will be running next month. By the end of the weekend there was only a very short unbuilt length to the vertical wall adjacent to the culvert, which is also nearing completion.
Sadly, while this wall was being built, a section of the wall built last year was being demolished. When the piling was put in it was backfilled with concrete which forms the foundations for our battered wall. However in some sections the concrete has sunk, which has left voids between the concrete and piling. These voids will need to be filled with a bentonite grout before the canal is re-watered - the only problem being that we've built a wall over where the gap has appeared. So with the help of some hammers and extremely large crowbars, a 20 metre section of wall was removed. Whilst it is disappointing to do this, it is necessary to ensure that the canal is completed to a high standard.
Finally, the section of fencing adjacent to Redwith Bridge received more attention. Having been started in November, another four sections were completed.
|Excavation of canal bed at Pryces Bridge||The Trench Test on the digger course|
|Construction of the wall from Pryces Bridge to the culvert||The new road and level soil tip complete with bunds|
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