In August 2020, VolkerGround Engineering was awarded a contract to install 130 linear metres of permanent
steel sheet piles, as part of emergency flood defence works in Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria. The project, to repair a failed clay bund banking which had previously received temporary sandbag repair to prevent flood damage to houses adjacent to the riverbank, is part of the Cumbria Flood Risk Management Scheme.
VolkerGround Engineering’s first task on site was to install temporary piles to support the crane platform on the opposite bank to the failed embankment. The steel sheet piles were then delivered to the crane platform and installed from a floating pontoon formation with a 60tonne long reach MOVAX.
The ground conditions presented unexpected challenges throughout the project. The team encountered very loose ground at 8 metres, and had to adapt the installation methodology to compensate for the lack of rockhead. After being driven, the steel sheet piles were left high and then back driven to level.
Throughout the duration of the project the water levels fluctuated dramatically, which meant it was necessary that we tailored our installation method and approach. Together with VolkerStevin, our team developed a flexible programme, enabling the team to continue installing the steel sheet piles further up the river from land, where bathymetric surveys had also highlighted a significant narrowing of the river and where it was impossible for the pontoon to pass. Permission was granted by local residents to access these areas through private gardens, to keep the flood defence line and protect properties.
This project is a fantastic example of collaboration. VolkerGround Engineering worked closely with the main contractor, VolkerStevin, and VolkerBrooks who supplied the pontoons, to provide the most efficient and seamless solution to complete the project.
Julian Wilson, VolkerStevin contracts manager, said: “The emergency embankment stabilisation works were successfully completed by the end of 2020 as planned. This was only possible due to the collaborative and open approach to design requirements and build-ability issues. All parties should be proud of the part they have played in this first class example of collaborative delivery.”