Bristol Port

Waterman was appointed to advise on all the capital dredging works associated with the construction of a completely new deepwater berth capable of accepting 128,000 DWT ships up to 270m long.

The project involved the removal of a road and associated earth bank between the existing dock and the existing pumping pond, together with the dredging work necessary to create a berth for 14.5m draught vessels.

A considerable amount of site investigation and subsequent geotechnical work was undertaken to check the slope stability of a variety of cut and filled slopes on three sides of the new berth. The dredging work consisted of the removal of an accumulation of soft silt followed by alluvial clays, sands and gravels, and 2-4m of Mercian Mudstone. The total volume of dredging was of the order of 650,000m3. All the loose materials were removed by a cutter suction dredger discharging into the Severn Estuary whilst the Mercian Mudstone was removed by a barge mounted backhoe and deposited against the existing lock structure. The sands and gravels were deposited on the foreshore to increase the range of habitats in the Severn Estuary.

The existing lock gates are very sensitive to the movement of the supporting structure and this dredged material imposed significant additional loads onto the lock structure. Analysis of the existing structure was undertaken to ensure the stresses and deflections were within acceptable limits.

The project was completed in a very demanding timescale to suit the arrival of the first ship.

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