Piling work starts at port

PILING is underway to create a new quay wall for the �250 million extension to the Port of Felixstowe.

PILING is underway to create a new quay wall for the �250 million extension to the Port of Felixstowe.

The thump-thump of the machine hammering the piles into the harbour bed can be heard across the town - but so far it has not caused any problems or generated complaints.

Community liaison manager for contractors Costain, James York said two different techniques are being used to drive the 45-ton, 40m length piles into place.

“One is to use a vibratory (vibro) hammer and the other is a percussive hammer that will only be used when the vibro hammer is not effective - that is, driving through the clay and chalk layers of the subsoil,” he said.

The piles are being supplied by Corus, fabricated by Arcelor Mittal in Holland and shipped to Felixstowe from Dintelmond.

In total more than 350 piles will be transported to complete the 730-metre quay wall for the first phase of the Felixstowe south project.

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The timing of piling operations is being restricted.

Percussive piling does not start before 8am Monday to Friday, and is complete by 6pm each day.

Between these times, there will be no more than five hours piling each day.

Percussive piling on Saturdays will not start before 9am and will finish by 1pm, and will not take place on more than 13 weeks in the next six months. There will be no piling on Sundays or bank holidays.

Chris Lewis, chief executive officer of Hutchison Ports (UK) Limited, owners of the Port of Felixstowe, said: “A special acoustic fence has already been constructed between the port and our nearest neighbours, and the contractors will be using special vibrating hammers to the greatest extent possible.

“Although the use of the noisier percussive hammers will be needed for the final stage of each pile, we hope the noise will be kept to a minimum.”

The project involves filling in the historic Dock Basin and modernising and extending Landguard Terminal to create extra berths for the world's largest ships.

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