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Page 4 - Installation

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The installation of the pier was a fitting finale - to a challenging design and construction project.

Prior to dispatching the pontoon and brow from the fabrication site, the other permanent works were constructed. These included a shore side ramp, a pre-cast dolphin on driven piles and the two radial arm piles. The use of radial arms to secure the pontoon and an interlocking brow resulted in somewhat lower installation tolerances than produced by conventional vertical guide piles and sliding brows. This necessitated the use of temporary mooring piles and a brow support system, the result was a congested piece of water into which the two floating components had to be threaded.

The completed pontoon and brow was lifted from the fabrication yard in Rochester by SMIT International's TakLift I with the brow being placed on a suitably rigged pontoon. The brow was taken to site first and, festooned with temporary fendering to protect the paintwork, was cajoled into position over the dolphin-locating pin. With the offshore end supported by adjustable chains from the temporary works the falling tide allowed the shore end to drop onto the dolphin pin.

So far so good. The next day the pontoon was brought up, secured to the temporary moorings and the radial arms fitted, firstly to the piles and then to the pontoon. The brow was then lowered onto the pontoon and fixed in place. There followed a period reflection as we watched through a tidal cycle to confirm that Mandip's (Beckett Rankine Partnership) geometry was correct and that none of the moving elements fouled each other. Needless to say the burning gear was not required.

The foregoing brief account of the project's construction would not be complete without praising the fabrication company who designed the pontoon structure and constructed both the pontoon and brow. River & Marine (aka Kelly Norman Fabrications) have produced a splendid result from an array of difficult concepts. And whatever they said on completion, I am sure that they look forward to working with architects and artists again.

Lee Walke





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All images copyright Beckett Rankine 2003