Thursday 11 April 2013
Contractors have begun preparations to carry out extensive repairs to two of the main freight berths at St Peter Port Harbour.
Earlier this year, work was completed on the reconstruction of one of the three berths at the harbour, which between them handle around 50,000 tonnes of goods arriving or leaving the island each year. This was prior to the delivery in February of the first of two new mobile cranes, which will replace four old units that date back to the 1960s.
The works are part the £13.75 million refurbishment of freight-handling facilities at the harbour, which are due to be completed in 2014. The next phase now involves extensive repairs on the other two berths, before the arrival of the second replacement crane later this year.
This will address areas where corrosion has occurred to the undersides of Berths 4 and 6, and their supporting beams and columns. It will involve removing large sections of the existing concrete to expose the steel reinforcement, and undertake repairs to the metal and install a protection system, before re-encasing this in new concrete.
The refurbished structures will then have a design life of at least 50 years, and sufficient strength to accommodate the new mobile cranes.
Two old cranes were demolished to make way for the arrival of the first new one. This is now operational, which has enabled the two remaining cranes that are being replaced to be taken out of service.
A new upper deck was required on Berth 5 to provide the required load bearing strength for the crane. This involved installing steel-lined, reinforced concrete piles through the jetty and down to the sea bed, to support the new structure.
Harbourmaster Captain Peter Gill said good progress continues to be made:
"This next phase involves major engineering works, and in the marine environment that is always challenging and further complicated by tidal restrictions. However everything in the project so far has progressed according to plan and from a technical perspective we have not encountered any major problems,"
"At the operational level, the need to maintain essential harbour activities while large sections of the existing facilities are effectively out of commission presents a number of challenges. The fact that we have managed that with no interruptions and without any major disruption to harbour users is an achievement in itself."