It was a case of bash on despite the weather over the two August weekends. The headline news is that lining/blocking has started at long last, and that the Hell Hole is no more! Heavy rain meant that bulk earthmoving was not possible for two of the six days but nevertheless substantial progress was made in this department. And we have some modest recognition to report.
The keenly awaited lining/blocking work started on the Friday of first work party in the middle section between Crickheath and the oak tree. A large turnout of volunteers completed thirty metres of channel was over the three days. The remaining 50 metre long section of channel in this area was final shaped (in sometimes arduous conditions) during the second weekend ready for the attentions of the lining gang in September.
Bank construction was concentrated on the towpath side at the LAF end of the site. This is now largely up to full height but requires more material to form its finished profile. During the wet days attention turned to building a section of offside stone bank, and to re-profiling the erstwhile surcharged stone banks at the oak tree.
The filling of the area around the Hell Hole was completed during the first weekend, thus completing the bed treatment on the whole of Phase 2. Ten dumper loads of earth and half a tonne of grout were assembled and, following a pumping session, it was rapidly filled in with alternate layers of both before the water could return. Such is the nature of the ground in this area few are taking bets on whether this has completely stabilised the ground locally.
The remaining IBCs were located and filled on the final ‘subsidence’ bank near the LAF dam. Although they will be in position for six months monitoring shows that movement has already started, and that the magnitudes to date exceed those on the other three similar banks.
Some time ago a joint submission was made by Arcadis/CRT/SUCS to the Ground Engineering 2021 Awards; an important construction industry event featuring major consulting and contracting organisations. The good news is that a submission based on the Phase 2 restoration has made the short list in the community based project section. We will have to wait until November to find out if we have been successful.