Gladstone River Entrance, Liverpool

We were engaged by Peel Ports to assist in providing a structural solution to a subsiding ram pit on the Westside peninsular of the Gladstone Dock, Liverpool.

The Westside Gladstone River Entrance ram pit, used for operating the lock gates, was suffering subsidence at its back end due to unknown circumstances. The ram pit had settled approximately 150mm over a few years, putting pressure on the ram mechanism and causing the operating ‘pin’ to bend when in use. To overcome this, the ram pit required stabilising to prevent any further settlement. Once the pit was stabilised the hydraulic ram could be jacked level, relieving the ram mechanism of stresses caused by the settlement.

There were a number of project obstacles that had to be dealt on this project and careful planning required due to the location of the ram pit, with limited access, and a network of underground tunnels beneath, and its role with respect to the operation of the docks. We considered a number of preliminary solutions, prior to deciding on the most efficient solution.

In addition to providing a suitable structural solution for supporting the ram pit, we also helped develop and implement a contingency solution for the sudden failure of the lock gates. This was required to ensure the lock gates could still be used in the event of failure of the ram system during the works. This system was successfully tested prior to the works being carried out, ensuring the port could remain operational throughout the stabilisation works.

This project won the Institution of Structural Engineers North West Structural Award – Small Project Award in September 2012.

In May 2013, it won the ACE Centenary Engineering Excellence Award 2013 in the Infrastructure (Medium Firm) category.

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