Channel Islands

Replacing the Western Linkspan

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Western Linkspan, Elizabeth Harbour

A project to replace the western link-span at Elizabeth Harbour has reached completion.

The £3.2 million project encountered difficulties due to stormy conditions which delayed the linkspan’s journey to Jersey. The bridge finally arrived from Dutch maritime construction company Ravestein BVs yard in Deest, Netherlands on Friday 7th March.

Following its arrival into port, works began on installing the new link-span, which took three weeks to complete. This period of time also included load testing and final safety checks before the project completed at the end of March 2014.

The old link-span was removed from the Elizabeth Harbour in November 2013 and transported by barge to the Ravestein yard at Deest, where it was stored before it began its treacherous journey. The Port of Jersey worked closely with bridge constructers, Ravestein BV, to identify elements which could be re-used on other projects.

The Port of Jersey has also worked closely with Condor Ferries and Solent Stevedores during the planning and construction phase of the overall project and were extremely grateful to their business partners. The partners worked together to ensure Elizabeth Harbour ran smoothly with only the eastern link-span operating.

Nearby residents, businesses and interested parties were contacted by Port of Jersey, outlining the project and reassuring them that noise and disturbance level would be kept to a minimum during the period when the works were carried out.Civil engineering work took place before the bridge began its journey in order to widen both the concrete ramp and pedestrian tunnel. The new west berth link-span is expected to last for up to 30 years before needing replacement.

The old link-span was installed in the late 1980s and since then freight and passenger traffic coming in and out of the Island has increased significantly and expected to grow even further.  In line with demand, sea vessels have also grown in size in recent years and it is expected that the next generation of ferries are likely to be significantly wider than the ships for which the existing linkspan was designed.

Western Linkspan, Elizabeth Harbour

Therefore, at 100 metres long the new version has a slightly wider roadway than the previous one and has been designed to improve the operational efficiency of the berth at Elizabeth Harbour, allowing two-way movement of freight vehicles, which will quicken turnaround times for the shipping operator, Condor Ferries. The new bridge will be better suited to deal with the future requirements of the Port of Jersey and its shipping operators.

Ravestein Shipyard and Construction Company specialise in building bridges, lock gates, roll-on/roll-off landing stages and jack ups. Ravestein was established in 1976 and holds an expertise in large steel constructions projects; the company oversee the entire process from fabrication to installation, including maintenance on all their projects.

Specialised Workboats, Barges and Dredging Contractors, Jenkins Marine,were involved in the linkspan project at the Port of Jersey’s Elizabeth Harbour, under contract to Geomarine. Their work was to allow the installation of a new Ravestein Link Span bridge.

Meanwhile, Doreen Dorward were hard at work clearing the sea floor at the site of the new Link Span and Jenkins Marine’s Split Hopper barge Needles were on hand helping to deposit the spoil out to sea. A Cat 345 Long arm excavator supplied by W M Plant hire was also put to good use with a rock grinding wheel, pecker, and buckets to excavate into the granite rock.

WM Plant Hire 

WM Plant Hire has a great deal of expertise in specialist long reach plant hire, with an extensive range of heavy duty machines suited for work the marine sector. Their services include dredging works, marine construction works, off shore wind farm support and wind turbine construction services. Having been in operation for over 25 years, and with one of the biggest fleets of long reach machines in the UK, WM Plant Hire are definitely the ones to watch.

The firm have an impressive portfolio of projects, including the works they undertook at Methil in Fife, Scotland. The team worked on the new prototype Samsung wind turbine, which is the largest prototype wind farm in the world and undertook the foundation works on the scheme. WM Plant Hire has also been involved in the huge Crossrail project for over five years now and has worked on Canary Wharf Station and Tottenham Court Road Station. They are currently working on Victoria Dock undertaking all of the deep excavation works for the tunnel access.

Most recently the team have been involved in the installation of a new linkspan bridge at St Helier port. The company used an underwater breaker and rock cutting machine in order to shift underwater rock to install the linkspan. They also dredged the harbour to make it deeper for the entering vessels.

Premier Construction caught up with Damian McGettrick, Director of WM Plant Hire, to find out more about the project:

“We were on site for six weeks and the scheme went extremely well; we even finished ahead of schedule. We were very happy to have been involved because it is a high profile project and working with our Client and the team at the Port was an honour. It was our first major project with our clients Geomarine who in turn were employed by Port of Jersey.

We had to ensure we had the right equipment on site and that we utilised the onboard GPS system on the underwater excavation which allows us to see exactly where we are digging. We pride ourselves on our reliable equipment, experienced operators and high level of service.”

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