Friday 10 April 2015
Work on the repair and refurbishment of freight handling facilities at St Peter Port Harbour is nearing completion.
The £13.7 million project has involved the replacement of four old harbour cranes with two new ones, and extensive repairs or reconstruction of the berths where these operate. All the main works are expected to be completed this month, but two key milestones were recently reached.
Berths 4 and 5 - the two main unloading and loading areas for freight ships - are both now back in operation for the first time in more than two years. And that has meant the harbour's two new mobile cranes can now be fully deployed at the same time.
Berth 5 was reconstructed at the start of the project, to provide the required load bearing strength for the new cranes. It involved drilling down through the jetty right to the sea bed beneath, and installing new steel-lined, reinforced concrete piles to support a complete new upper deck.
That was followed by the demolition of the two old harbour cranes on Berth 5, prior to the arrival of the first of the new Port mobile units.
Since then, extensive repairs have been carried out to the underside of Berth 4, and its steel-reinforced concrete support beams and columns. Two old cranes, which like the ones on Berth 5 dated back to the 1970s, were also demolished.
Virtually all the repair work has been below the top level of the berth, therefore mostly unseen. Concrete was removed over large sections of the old structure, where corrosion had occurred. This exposed the steel reinforcement, enabling it to be repaired before new concrete was applied.
A new corrosion protection system has also been installed on the newly repaired berths.
The second new crane has now been manoeuvred into position on Berth 4, where it operated for the first time at the end of March.
Contractors are now completing repair work on Berth 6, which mainly serves Sark and Alderney. These are less extensive, and are expected to be completed in next few weeks, marking the end of the project.
Between them, the three berths handle around 50,000 tonnes of goods arriving or leaving the island each year.
Harbourmaster Captain Chad Murray said carrying out these extensive repairs within an operational port had been a challenge.
'At the operational level, the need to maintain essential harbour activities while large sections of the existing facilities have been effectively out of commission presented 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.'
The repair works being carried out to Berths 4 and 5 meant areas normally used for container storage within the harbour's main freight yard were unavailable throughout the project. A section at the eastern end of North Beach has therefore been used as a temporary trailer park. However all parking spaces have been relocated elsewhere.
In January Guernsey Harbours received planning permission to retain this section of the car park for reconfiguration of the port operating area, in particular to accommodate Condor's new larger vessel. It is being used to create a larger car marshalling area and trailer compound, to improve traffic flows around the harbour.
Replacement parking will continue to be provided in other areas.