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Sheet piling started to save Dorset bridge

Work to stabilise, repair and protect a bridge in Wool in Dorset has got underway after it partially collapsed earlier this year.

A large crack in the Grade II listed structure was spotted in January caused where the flow of the river had eroded the riverbed beneath the foundation of the wall.

At the time pins were hammered into the bridge surface to be able to monitor movement and shortly afterwards 6mm movement was detected. Later the same day the wall had slipped into the river, followed by an arch.

Since then 40 bags of gabion stone have been supporting the collapsed section of the bridge.

The work includes the installation of  44 sheet piles that will support a new concrete arch and wall, which will be built over the coming weeks.

The 4m piles are designed with an additional sacrificial thickness of steel to meet the 120 year design life – though as they will be completely submerged they are expected to last considerably longer.

When the piles have been pushed fully into the riverbed, the team on site will start to prepare the underside of the bridge – levelling the surface – and will also build temporary supports for the southern-most main arch so that one of the dislodged arch stones can be re-set.

The bridge is expected to be fully reopened in October.

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