Dig Report

Wey and Arun, June 2021

A single day on site installing oak beams to support the pedestrian bridge deck at the Tickner’s Heath Road Crossing

A single day installing the oak beam joists for the pedestrian bridge decking at Tickner’s Heath

June 26th

Following a successful session in early June maintaining the Kescrg kit and trailer, and disposing of all the perishable items from the food stock that hadn’t been touched since March last year, we finally made it back on to site for a single day at the new and exciting Tickner’s Heath Road Crossing project on the Wey and Arun canal. This project is the installation of a new road bridge with separate pedestrian / cycle / horse bridge which will remove the next blockage on the summit pound running south from the previously restored Compasses bridge at Dunsfold. The road bridge will be built by contractors, but the first task is to build the pedestrian bridge, primarily so services such as the water main can be diverted to the new bridge when the road is taken up.

Deep concrete piles have been installed and eventually the canal will be excavated between these – but in the mean time the new bridge is being built as a stand alone structure outside the piles, and it is currently just a couple of feet off the ground which is a little disconcerting – but certainly makes the construction job much simpler and safer.

Our task for the day was to cut and install 56 oak beams, which form the joists for the bridge deck. Fittingly, the oak for these beams came from trees felled last year to make way for the new canal line. A saw bench and jig was set up with stops at the right length so the beams could be cut to length without measuring each one in turn, and a plan was hatched to ensure the beams could be installed without finding it impossible to get the bolts through the holds for the last set to be installed. A bit of a logistical headache, but we worked it out in the end.

Then, once we had a plan it was all hands to the pump cutting, shaping, lifting (the beams were very heavy, so having the excavator on hand here was invaluable), drilling and bolting the beams in place.

By the end of the afternoon all 56 beams were in, and it was a most successful and enjoyable day – a great way to get back into the swing of canal restoration!

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