At the 2021 Ground Engineering Awards ceremony in London on November 23, the Montgomery Canal restoration project won the Community Engagement Award. The winner came from a shortlist which included a section of the HS2 project and three other professionally-delivered entries.
The Ground Engineering Awards ceremony celebrates the achievements of projects, people and businesses working across geotechnical engineering. The awards are open to any business/project involved in this field. This national event attracts the biggest names in Main Contracting, Consultants, Geo-Technics, Ground Investigation Specialists, Suppliers and Manufacturers.
The Montgomery Canal restoration project is near Crickheath and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. It involves rebuilding a section of canal channel across very poor ground including an area that was previously a peat bog. The original canal channel in the area had mostly disappeared due to subsidence and the challenge was to reinstate the canal banks in such a way as to avoid further subsidence in future.
The Community Engagement Award was presented to Arcadis (the designers), Canal and River Trust (the client) and Shropshire Union Canal Society (the contractors) for work carried out over the last eighteen months which effectively dealt with the problems. The technique used was to build oversized banks weighed down with water-filled tanks over the peat areas. This induced subsidence both quickly and irreversibly after which the banks were reduced to their finish shape.
Consulting geotechnics engineers Arcadis provided a design solution in conjunction with Canal and River Trust which was suitable for construction by volunteers. More information on the design can be found here. The Shropshire Union Canal Society acted as contractors to deliver the technically complex work. On site for two 3-day work parties a month, the forty-strong volunteer group have now completed the critical work. Finishing work on the project will go on into next year.
SUCS Project Manager David Carter said “It is rather surreal to see a volunteer organisation such as ours win a national award like this and beating many construction industry household names in the process. We are very grateful to the staffs of both Arcadis and Canal and River Trust who are associated with this project for their help and guidance during this work. It has been a real team effort. Shropshire Union Canal Society volunteers can feel extremely proud of their contribution to the winning of this Community Engagement Award.”