The first concrete pour has taken place at Everton FC’s new waterfront stadium, while the infill of the western part of the dock has reached the water line, the club said.
Last Thursday saw main contractor Laing O’Rourke pour the first foundations on the northern elevation in the form of a concrete pile cap, which will create a stable base for the distribution of the building load.
Three hundred of the individual, 15-20m deep supporting piles have now been drilled into the northern and southern wharves of the site. Each of the 2,500 completed piles, drilled at the current rate of 21 per day, will eventually be capped and, in turn, form the sub-structure for the skeleton of the 52,888-capacity stadium.
David Jackson, project engineer at Laing O’Rourke, said: “It is a massive milestone to see the concrete going into the ground as we cap off some of our first piles. This also represents the first time our structural and foundation work comes above the current ground level.
“While the piling process continues across northern and southern sides of the dock, we have also been excavating and testing those piles, We’ve dropped in 30 tonnes of pre-fabricated reinforcement, put in casting items, bolt sets and drainage and today we’re pouring in the concrete to cap the piles and create a stable foundation. Doing this will offer us a larger area for the distribution of the weight of the stadium on to the piles.”
The project team also marked the first visible sigs of transformation on the infill project, which involves introducing 480,000 cubic metres of fluidised sand into Bramley-Moore Dock. With more than 315,000 cubic meters of sand already in the dock, the sand has now broken through to the surface of the south-western edge of the dock.
Once all the water within the dock is displaced, the sand, dredged from the Irish Sea and Liverpool Bay, will be heavily compacted and topped up to form further solid foundations. At that point, piling can then commence in the infilled dock.
Andy Boynton, civil engineer at Laing O’Rourke, said: “This is quite a significant moment in the infill process. Visually the sand is now above the waterline in the western section of the dock, we’ve disconnected the floating pipeline and have been discharging sand directly from the steel pipelines.
“The sand pumped in from the dredger is now being pushed around by the bulldozer on this platform of sand in the dock and will be spread east and compressed to squeeze out any moisture.”
Around three quarters of the infill project is now complete, with completion of this phase expected by the end of January.
Everton said that other developments on site include the re-siting of welfare offices to the eastern edge of the site ahead of the workforce growing next year as the project gathers pace, while work is also continuing on the repair of the grade two-listed hydraulic tower.
In September, Everton secured £45m support from Liverpool City Region in support of the stadium project, made up of a £15m grant and a £30m loan.
The £500m stadium project cleared its final planning hurdle in March this year, when communities minister Robert Jenrick decreed that the project should not be called in for public inquiry.