The capping of two disused mine shafts from the former Bradford colliery, each nearly one kilometre deep, marks the completion of the remediation work on a 17-acre plot in Eastlands next to the City of Manchester stadium.
This is the first time in the UK that mine shafts have been capped, in accordance with National Coal Board guidance, to such a degree that it is possible to construct a building over the top of them, therefore not restricting any future development opportunities. Each shaft is encased in a two-metre thick, 22-metre deep, reinforced concrete structure that is shaped like an upside-down cup.
The £8m project, which started last September, was managed by Turner & Townsend and undertaken by remediation specialistsBuckingham Group Contracting and follows extensive site investigations. The engineers were Arup and the environmental design team was BWB.
Funded by the Homes & Communities Agency, Manchester City Council, the North West European Regional Development Fund and North West Development Agency, the scheme will make the land, which formed part of the site proposed for the regional casino, ready for future development.
The project builds on other investment by a number of funding partners to support the continued development of Eastland's sporting, leisure and economic infrastructure, including the new National Indoor BMX Centre and a network of new pedestrian and cycle links to the surrounding area, which are currently on site.
Jack Rowley, regional director at Warrington-based Buckingham Group, said: "Land that has historic mine working presents a challenge to develop, and with mineshafts the size we have here, it has often limited the future use of the land. We needed to find a solution that would allow unrestricted future development plans to go-head without risk. The National Coal Board was satisfied that the method we have used is robust enough for any construction to take place over the top of it. You could even build a 30-storey building on top of it now. This is the first time this kind of work has been done in the UK, and as far as we're aware, anywhere in the world. It has been great to work with Turner and Townsend, BWB and Arup on this unique innovative aspect of the site service removal and remediation project."
Eastlands was originally built to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games and has created a lasting legacy since that time with facilities including the original stadium now home to Manchester City FC, Manchester Regional Arena, National Squash Centre, Tennis Centre, English Institute of Sport, Manchester Velodrome and, most recently, the construction of the new National Indoor BMX Centre. Each year, over 400 events are held at the complex, attracting over 4.5m visitors and providing employment for local residents.