A significant milestone was reached in the progress of the Sustainable Transport Bridge this week as BAMs construction barge ‘Skerchi’ was towed into place to commence piling works for the four bridge pier foundations.
The piers require construction of a cofferdam, a watertight enclosure to allow construction work below the waterline. The cofferdams will be created by driving interlocking piles through the bed of the River Suir to form the watertight enclosures. The water is then pumped out of the cofferdam so the construction of the pier foundations can commence.
Commenting on the operation, Senior Engineer with Waterford City and County Council, Sean Dobbs said, “Accuracy is a critical factor in the pile driving process. To achieve such precision, site engineers are surveying precise positions and are in constant radio contact with the bargemaster.
“Temporary ‘spud’ piles will be initially driven, and a guide frame attached to guide the driving of permanent piles. Once the permanent piles have been driven, the temporary ‘spud’ piles are removed, the barge is realigned, and the process repeats until the cofferdam is complete.”
The ‘Skerchi’ is currently anchored on the south side of the river to create a stable working platform, as a 250 tonne crane drives steel piles into the riverbed. The barge will then be towed by tugboat to the north side of the river to create the cofferdams for the two piers on the north side. This will allow river navigation to continue along the central navigation channel.
The Sustainable Transport Bridge will connect the North Quays to heart of the city centre, providing access for pedestrians, bicycles, and a courtesy bus service.
The Waterford North Quays Project received approval for investment of €170.6m from the Government (URDF providing investment of €100.6m and the NTA providing investment of €70m) in November 2022. The transformative project will create a sustainable modern mixed-use development that will harness and extend Waterford’s city centre, whilst reinstating the primacy of the river by creating a compact and vibrant core centred on the River Suir.
Updates on the project will continue to be available on the project website www.waterfordnorthquays.ie, project newsletters and Waterford City and County Council social media platforms.