Work progresses on £300,000 scheme under Pier

by Nigel Brown Jun 26 2018 0     816
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October 16, 2017


Work is progressing on a £300,000 project to strengthen the structures holding up Clacton Pier.

Many of the 3,000 or so concrete piles under the 6.5 acre Pier are more than 90-years-old and have had very few significant repairs carried out since they were first put in place.

Now small sections of the outer concrete are starting to crumble in places and it is beginning to expose the metal reinforcements – some of which need cutting out and replacing.

The programme needs to be undertaken so that the structure can take the increased weight of the improvements and development due to take place above as part of a major seven-figure refurbishment plan for the Pier.

Pier Director Billy Ball said the scheme on the piles, which began in July, will take around 24 months to complete.

“It was a bit of a daunting prospect when we started out as we believe that about 500 of the piles will need some repairs carried out so that they will hold good for another 100-years or so,” he said.

“It was important to ensure that everything was in order below deck for us to go ahead with our plans to make the Pier a modern all-weather 52 week a year attraction.”

A firm of contractors were initially employed to get the project underway but now Mr Ball said that an in-house team is getting specialist training to continue with the programme through to competition.

He is also looking to employ a couple more people with construction experience, who can handle a grinder and breaker, to join the team with the prospect of being kept on afterwards.

“We prefer all our work to be carried out by local labour wherever possible and that is why we want to carry on with the project ourselves,” added Mr Ball.

“It involves stripping back the concrete to the reinforcement rods; taking out the old metal where necessary and replacing it before using a specialist repair mortar and covering over using hand tools.”

The work has to be carried out at low tide and it has meant some early starts for Peter Burns who has been working on the job throughout.

“The worst was a 3am start but you soon get used to it,” he said. “We are making steady progress and the main thing is to do a proper job.”

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