Work progresses on £300,000 scheme under Pier
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
“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.”