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Trouble at Mill 2014

Looking downstream from our upstairs mill windows, we noticed damage to the flint river wall below our front lawn; the force of the mill race teeming down the sluice had destroyed the foundations. After a variety of proposals, we decided on a wider inspection, covering the brick retaining wall that supports the drive by our bridge. This 3-metre high wall had been built in September 1893, and was supported off timber piled foundations. We hired a diving team from Yarmouth-based Red7 Marine, and over the video in their control cabin we heard their diver reporting "Here's a void!..Here's another void!" There sounded to be more voids than solids! After several delays, work on replacing the foundations eventually began on Monday 20th October 2014. Villagers were alerted by the arrival of a giant 120 tonne capacity Liebherr mobile crane with 56 metre reach that towered over the village. During one morning, it transferred 12 modular steel sections that bolted together to form a 50 square-metre floating work platform, culminating in another powerful crane being delicately lowered into the central section (see photo). The platform is secured to the river bed by two raisable steel columns called spud legs. The platform houses a steel cabin, air compressor, gas cylinder, generator, diving and building equipment; it can be nudged into working position by a small motor punt.

The Red7 Marine team spent their first two weeks dredging the wall foundations and installing vertical I-beams close to the brick wall; these provided support to timber shuttering panels which slotted between the beams down to the river bed. On 12th November a concrete pump, unfolding its hydraulic arm to a high of 20 metres, pumped concrete behind the bottom row of shutter panels and into all those voids. Three further concrete pours have been completed since then, but 15 hours of heavy rain on Sunday, 23rd November forced a week's delay, Two further pours are required to complete the wall strengthening.

The giant mobile crane returned to remove all the equipment, on 9th December and a return of the un-encumbered river, should have happened by the time you receive your January Bawburgh News.

Thanks to Roger Thompson for the above. Photo record with thanks to Pamela Ross

Work carried out in 2014

 

Work carried out in 1991

 

 

 

 

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