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AmcoGiffen's MEICA team keeping our waterways open

AmcoGiffen’s MEICA team keeping waterways open

We've been hard at work this past year maintaining, refurbishing and inspecting our waterway structures and networks on behalf of the Canal & River Trust. This has proved more important than ever by providing safe outdoor spaces and facilities to aid wellbeing while we’ve been in lockdown.

Our range of capability stretches from minor to major and here is a flavour of what our MEICA specialists have been up to recently.

What do you do when you have to lift an underbridge cylinder weighing the equivalent of approximately eight and half cars out from underneath a structure protecting a tidal river flow?

We use our team of MEICA experts, a bespoke lifting beam and a really, really big crane.

AmcoGiffen is carrying out essential maintenance on the Tees Barrage .The 25-year old structure has aging parts and our job is to safely remove the four 15-tonnes cylinders one at a time, returning them to the original manufacturers in the Netherlands. Before they’re sent back to us the cylinders are fully stripped and inspected, with new seals and ceramic CIMS rod installed, prolonging the operating life of the structure.

Each cylinder removal takes an entire night shift with the structure closed to vehicles and pedestrians. The safest way to remove the cylinder is to move the water away from the location with several stop planks each weighing six tonnes. Following removal of the water we isolate and lock the cylinder while positioning and stabilising the lifting beam. Once in place the cylinder is attached to the lifting beam and safely extracted while being guided away from the bridge deck and then loaded onto a truck.

As part of a wider programme, our team has undertaken additional works on the structure including:

  • Refurbishing the fish belly gate pivot point
  • Changing the seal on the fish belly gate
  • Recoating the caisson walls
  • Planned and preventive maintenance on the hydraulic and electrical systems
  • Installing new pivot bearings

The Tees Barrage connects the north and south sides of the river at Stockton-on-Tees. Its main purpose is to stabilise the tide flowing through the River Tees, it also helps keep this part of the river cleaner and has helped to attract investment to the area. The structure includes a main road of 160- metres and 8 spans, a lower footbridge for walkers and cyclists, a barge lock and fish pass. Since its opening it’s helped regeneration in the area, creating jobs and development opportunities. It’s also home to the White Water Centre owned by the Canal & River Trust offering a full range of water sport activities and facilities providing the community with somewhere to get away.

 Our next cylinder removal is planned for mid-April.


Bespoke lifting beam in action at Tees Barrage

Another one of our specialist services is refurbishing and replacing equipment in-situ which is one of the projects we’re working on with the Trust at Brunswick Dock, Liverpool.

We’re carrying out a comprehensive maintenance examination of the 30-year old dock gates. We’ll remove the 25-tonnes gate from the lock with a heavy duty mobile crane positioned dock side and then transfer it to a compound area for our team to inspect safely.

During the check we’ll replace the seals, all the hydraulic pipework in the pump chamber, two penstock cylinders and we’ll refurbish the hydraulic drive units.

The docks in Liverpool have the greatest concentration of Grade I listed architecture anywhere in the UK and our experts have years of experience providing us with the capability to plan and complete refurbishment schemes while protecting the surrounding environment and keeping our workers safe.

This essential refurbishment work on the gate will sustain the life of the dock which originally opened in 1832 for importing timber. Brunswick Dock is now home to the Royal Navy Headquarters for the North of England and forms part of the revitalised network of Albert and South Docks connected to the Leeds Liverpool Canal via the Liverpool Canal Link.

Our MEICA specialists have decades of experience between them and understand the canals and rivers, their structures and the important role they play in our communities both for wellbeing and regeneration. We’re proud of work we do and our depth of knowledge and that we are able to support the Canal & River Trust to transform the waterways for the benefit of all.

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