Latest Update from the construction of Littlehampton Sea Defences, the crane climbs onto the bridge

UPDATED: You can now see a video of this event on our YouTube Channel.

Today, Tuesday 25th February 2014 marked an important milestone in the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences as the especially created Crane Bridge was commissioned.

Littlehampton Sea DefencesThe especially created ‘Crane Bridge’ above.

If you’ve just joined us, a quick overview on why the bridge is necessary.

The Project’s engineering team previously discovered that Pier Road is simply not strong enough to take the weight of the 130tonne crane, which is needed to undertake the piling work.  To overcome this problem,  a massive ‘Crane Bridge’ or platform has been designed and constructed to lessen the weight impact on Pier Road.

Today, we witnessed the amazing sight of the 130 tonne crane quite literally driving up an especially created shingle ramp onto the Crane Bridge where it will operate from.

The pictures below detail both the construction of the ramp and the driving of the crane onto the platform.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 1aWork begins on building the crane ramp.

Over 400 tonnes of shingle were needed to build the ramp. Once the piling is finished and the ramp no longer required, the shingle will then be used to back-fill behind the piles, so there’s no extra cost in materials in creating the ramp.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 1The ramp is so high that the roller has to be lifted onto by the crane.

Flood Defences 4Rolling and compacting the shingle to take the 130 tonne crane.

Littlehampton Flood Defences 2Careful attention is taken by VolkerStevin to ensuring the levels are just right.

Littlehampton Flood Defences crane bridgeThe view from the Crane’s bridge, which gives you an idea of both it’s scale and height.

Littlehampton Crane Bridge 3Preparations underway to ready both the ramp and the crane bridge.

Littlehampton Crane Bridge 4No room for error as the crane is extremely close to the edge.

Littlehampton Crane Bridge 5Crane ready to begin its climb.

Littlehampton Crane Bridge 6One of VolkerStevin’s engineers gets ready to give the go-ahead.

Littlehampton Sea Defences Crane climb 1Everyone holds their breath as the crane begins its climb but then the engine stalls leading to some lighthearted banter. The crane is reversed up so as to allow the rear weights take the strain (these are the red blocks at the rear of the crane)

Littlehampton Sea Defences Crane climb 2Initial attempts fail as the crane’s heavy duty tracks dig into the aggregate and it’s unable to climb.

Crushing sleepers 1Some sleepers are laid to give the tracks more purchase.

crushing sleepers 2However, these are quickly turned into wood chip.

crushing sleepers 3This time more sleepers are laid, but at a different angle. Will they be enough to allow the crane to begin its climb?

crushing sleepers 4Initially it looks as if they’re going to go the same way as their predecessors..

Crane almost there 1But the plan works and the crane begins its climb.

crane almost there 2Almost there.

crane almost there 3Continuing the climb.

crane almost there 5Hanging in the balance. The awful moments when the crane is about to go beyond the point of no return. You’d have to have been there to appreciate the creaking and banging noises, hence the guys all looking upwards.. (I have a video of the whole event which I’ll shortly upload to the Diaries)

success crane on rampA success! The crane is safely in its new position on the recently constructed crane platform. Everyone was impressed with the skill of the crane driver, who made what looked like a near impossible task easy.

Littlehampton Sea Defences crane driverThis man’s skill was amazing.

crane on the rampThe crane in position ready to start the piling works in Pier Road.

So what happens now?

Earlier I caught up with Eric Smethurst, VolkerStevin’s Public Liaison manager.

Eric explained that the crane will now begin piling works in Pier Road. While this is going on, a second bridge will put into position ahead of the existing bridge and the crane will simply drive forward onto this new section when it’s completed. The section the crane was on will then be placed forward of this section and so forth – so essentially ‘leap-frogging’ along Pier Road until all the piling is completed.

It’s an amazing sight. There’s no doubt about it that the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences is now entering an exciting phase. Lots to see, especially in Pier Road, which will now become a hive of activity.

So If you haven’t been down to see the works already – now is a good time.

This is one of two cranes that are now working on the construction of Littlehampton’s Flood Defences. The second crane is currently working in Arun Parade and this is the bigger of the two cranes weighing in a massive 160 tonnes.

If you’re visiting – Remember that (at the moment at least) you can park free in the Windmill Car Park, courtesy of Arun District Council provided you are a customer of a business in Pier Road.

So come down, grab a bite to eat and enjoy the view.

Make sure you keep up to date with the Pier Road Diaries by entering signing up for regular updates. Just enter your email address in the box on the top right hand side of this page just below the twitter feed.

If you’re on twitter remember to follow us at @pier_road

As always, thank you for reading and joining us.

We welcome your comments.

Spectacular behind the scenes pictures from the construction of Littlehampton’s Sea Defences

A huge thank-you to Andrew Walker from the Environment Agency for providing these superb behind-the-scenes pictures. A number of them have been taken from a basket hanging from one of the cranes.

(Click on the pictures to super-size them)

Littlehampton Sea DefencesA bird’s-eye view of Littlehampton’s East Bank Flood Defences Scheme under construction.

Construction of Littlehampton's Sea DefencesAmazing view of the entrance to Littlehampton Harbour, Littlehampton’s iconic Lighthouse and the boardwalk loved by so many.

Aran Parade 5

The area behind the piling at Littlehampton’s Arun Parade all ready for backfilling and them a cap will be built on top raising the level of the sea defences.

Arun ParadeThe area being backfilled.

Littlehampton Sea DefencesThe giant especially created Crane Bridge/Platform which will carry the 136tonne crane along Pier Road while it undertakes the piling works. One side of this giant bridge will sit on Pier Road with the other sitting on the recently installed piles. It will work it’s way along Pier Road North with the crane sitting on top. Quite a sight when it’s up and running,which we hope will be tomorrow (Tuesday, 25th February 2014).

Littlehampton Sea DefencesThe giant crane’s plaform which sits on wooden sleepers.

constucting Littlehampton's sea defencesThe Piling hammer which drives the piles into the river bed.

Thanks again to Andrew from the Environment Agency and to VolkerStevin for allowing me to use these pictures on the Pier Road Diaries. As always, thanks to Eric Smethurst,Volker Stevin’s public liaison manager for providing us and all the visitors to the scheme with updates and explanations and for answering my endless questions and the construction staff not minding my poking my camera at them.

Remember to sign up for regular blog updates by entering your email address in the top right hand corner of this page.

And if you’re on twitter, follow Pier Road Diares on Twitter – @Pier_Road

Make sure you visit Littlehampton Seafront to see history being made. This is once-in-a-lifetime event and we’re now entering the most exciting part of the scheme’s construction.

As always, thanks for reading and following.

The Pier Road Diaries is now getting over 5,000 visitors a month and our mailing list is growing daily. If you’re planning a Littlehampton event, please do let us know – email us at pierroad@live.com and we’ll update your event’s details to the ‘What’s on Section’ of the blog, which we’re currently working on.

Windmill Cinema Re-opens tonight, Friday, 21st February.

Littlehampton’s much loved cinema, The Windmill re-opens tonight at 7.30pm with a showing of 12 Year’s A Slave. The film, which is an adaptation of the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup.

Twelve years a slave, a memoirSolomon Northup was a New York State-born ‘free negro’ who was kidnapped in Washington D.C. in 1841 and sold into slavery.

Windmill Cinema Littlehampton

A hard hitting, BAFTA award winning movie to celebrate a victory for the Save the Windmill campaign led by  Pat King.

Speaking to Danny Pike this morning on BBC Southern Counties Radio, a clearly delighted and excited Pat King said she was proud of their achievements and very excited with the prospect of tonight’s opening. But the message is clear, she said:  ‘We have our cinema, now get out and use it – or loose it.’

She explained that they’d over a hundred volunteers behind us now helping ‘bring our much loved and very much missed cinema back to life’. And with their new arrangements they’d be able to stream live footage from various events and performances. Something that’s proving increasingly popular with cinema audiences across the country.

While the film starts at 7.30pm, there is a pre-film party – all are welcome to attend – to celebrate this great new beginning from 4pm – 6pm

The Windmill Cinema, which is conveniently located just off Littlehampton’s South Terrace – just before the junction with Pier Road and Arun Parade.

Pay and Display Car Parking is available in the car park in front of the cinema. Alternatively, free car parking can be found in nearby residential streets.

This evening’s Schedule:

4 -6pm – Re-launch Party – all are welcome.

7.30pm – Screening of 12 Year’s a Slave.

A blockbuster programme of movies follows tonight’s performance, details below.

Littlehampton winmill cinema programme