Land rises from Mersey for £300m superport [VIDEO]

Peel Ports has produced this film showing land reclamation of 12 hectares from the River Mersey to create the massive container terminal Liverpool2, due to open by the end of this year.

Contractors Bam Nuttall and Van Oord have completed the first phase of the infilling, using 1.43 million tonnes of sand and silt deposited from dredged material. The new terminal will have a 700-metres quay wall, six metres tall, held up by 296 steel piles, which is nearly complete.

The build programme is working around 10-metre tidal range, the second highest in the UK. Further infilling will take place over the summer.

Doug Coleman, Liverpool2’s construction director, said: “There are very few projects of this kind and scale going on in the UK, especially considering the impact of the exceptional tidal range.

“We can only carry out the installation of anchor blocks and other infrastructure, including vibrocompaction, for a maximum of eight hours each day – two hours either side of each low tide. The one benefit is that the weight of water during high tide helps to compress the infilled material.

“The tide also means that for every million tonnes we bring in, we lose about 2.5% which is not significant in the scheme of things and is helped by our deliberate strategy of installing the new sewerage outfall pipe which acts as a barrier to minimise losses.

“Thanks to the project being ‘all-weathered’, the tide is the only major challenge we face from the elements, although high winds or freezing conditions inevitably mean that work has to be carried out slightly differently to minimise any consequent risks.

“Overall, the first phase of infilling progressed exceptionally well and I’m generally very pleased with how all the works are taking shape.”

The piling process, which began in 2014 and is due to be completed in the next few months, involves drilling from large jack-up rigs and inserting tubular piles to create a new 854m long quay wall. The area behind the wall has been dredged to bed rock to allow for virgin materials to be deposited.

The infilling process began in February with the arrival in the river Mersey of the ‘Willem van Orange’ trailer suction hopper dredger. The vessel, operated by Dutch specialist Van Oord, has a handling capacity of 10,000m3 (21000 tonnes) and took materials from a site 20 miles away from Liverpool2, with each dredging and discharge operation taking 6.5 hours from beginning to end.

The dredger is due to return at the beginning of July to begin the second campaign of infilling, which will see a further 4m tonnes of dredged material being harvested from the river.

Other significant elements of the project to date include:

  • installation underway of 261 anchor blocks 3metres below the current infilled level,
  • connection of the anchor block to piles with steel bars, to straighten and tension the quay wall structure
  • vibrocompaction of the infill to settle it and drive out water
  • 220m extension to an existing sewerage outfall through the site, towed in a single piece from Norway
  • installation of drainage works directly behind quay wall
  • upfill from (+)6.5 metres to (+)10 metres to cover the tie bars and anchor blocks to the top level of the piles.

As well as the further infilling, the next major phases of the work will include installation of capping beams, with bollard and fender blocks, and pocket dredging for the delivery of ship to shore cranes.

The site will be open towards the end of December 2015. Liverpool2 will connect directly to a major logistics and distribution hub at Port Salford, transporting containers along the Manchester Ship Canal via vessel. The National Import Centre at Port Salford comprising a 154,000 sq. m warehouse and container facility will be able to handle over 300,000 containers and over 37 million freight pallets per year.

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