May 23, 2023

Replacing a crumbling pier in Dittisham – Part I

In 2020, we were approached by a private client to investigate the old Victorian pier at Dittisham. It was showing some serious signs of corrosion on the metal, cracks in the concrete and rotten timbers. The first seven sections needed fully replacing and it was planned that the end of the pier would have a new staircase, but we were hoping it would have structural integrity to last for a few more years.

This area of the River Dart at Dittisham is a Marine Conservation Zone, so a licence would be required from the Marine Management Organisation. This was a long process including a lot of paperwork and going back and forth to ensure the method was suitable for the environmentally sensitive area. We achieved the licence in December 2022. Some of the measures we have taken for this are to not exceed the weight our of 14T excavator, use ground protection mats and ensure all materials and fuel etc. is stored away from the watercourse in our site compound situated a local car park.

Works started at the end of February 2023. Due to the tidal nature of the site, we have been limited on the hours and days we have been able to work. Our Caterpillar excavator (fitted with tilt rotator) tracked along the foreshore from the car park to the pier, obviously only when the tides allowed. The tractor & trailer followed, and as the pier was being dismantled, it was lifted in to the trailer and taken back to the site compound for disposal. On reaching the end of the pier, the seemingly stable concrete pillars must have been held up by the rest of the pier. These also needed demolishing as were unsafe. New concrete footings were made for the new steel pier. Back at the workshop, the Dart Fabrication team fabricated all the steel work, and it went off for galvanising. This will ensure it is long lasting in a marine environment. These were then shipped to Dittisham, and carried to the pier location using the excavator. The legs were bolted on to the concrete footings, the cross members and sides were bolted on, and the hand rails have been attached too. The next stage is fitting the deck boards, so keep your eyes peeled for the final result!