The journalists and politican may have disappeared but AMCO continued to work in highly challenging conditions to deliver further resilience works at Dawlish. Following on from AMCO’s emergency works to repair the infamous ‘hole’ at Dawlish, we have been working with Network Rail to construct a secondary 340m protective sea wall to further protect the railway and residents along the site of the original breach.
Developed in association with Network Rail and designer Tony Gee & Partners the new wall consists of 154 pre-cast ‘L’ shaped concrete units each weighing up to 16 tonnes each. These ‘L’ units are initially anchored to the existing lower seawall with 5m long, 40mm thick anchors before the installation of extensive reinforced steel cages and mass pour concrete.
All this may sound like fairly standard civil engineering, however it's only when the site access logistics and restrictions are taken into account that the true challenge of the project becomes apparent. Hemmed in by the sea on one side and the railway and residential properties on the other it was impossible to undertake the works using conventional methods.
The majority of the work has been undertaken from the sea via Jack Up Barges (JUBs) – working platforms resembling mini oil rigs that can be raised and lowered to enable to works to continue as the tide ebbs and flows.
To maximize productivity in the tidal windows, operations have been ongoing 24/7. Despite the logistical challenges and battling poor weather conditions throughout the winter the project is complete, ensuring that the railway along this section of route is now significantly more robust and better equipped to withstand the constant onslaught of the sea and maintain a reliable and safe travel service along this strategically important route