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Contractors World  - UK & Ireland
2013 Vol 3 No 2
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Engineers on London's Regent Street today poured 100 tonnes of concrete
as work to rebuild the damaged carriageway continued into a third weekend following a burst trunk main Engineers on London's Regent Street today poured 100 tonnes of concrete

Regent Street main repaired but plenty still to do

Experts have been analysing ground conditions under London’s Regent Street as part of work to repair the damage caused by a burst water main.

The 20 inch-wide pipe broke at the Vigo Street and Glasshouse Street junction. It flooded the carriageway breaking up the surface of the road and forcing 15 nearby retail premises to close.

Although the 100-year-old main is now fixed, the road has to be rebuilt over the mended pipe and then resurfaced. A thorough road reconstruction requires sufficient time for the layers of concrete, aggregate and asphalt, which make up the foundations and the surface of the road, to set.


Maximising Opportunity

While the road is shut, Thames Water, Westminster City Council and other utilities are taking the opportunity to do some other jobs on their collective to-do lists. The water firm is using high-tech sensing equipment to establish whether there are any voids beneath the carriageway created by water blasting out of the broken pipe. Any voids that are discovered will be back-filled to guard against future subsidence.

Engineers are also taking the opportunity to check and service 35 valves and hydrants on the water network under the carriageway. They are replacing a length of seven inch-wide water pipe running over the top of the repaired trunk main. Sewers under the road are also being surveyed.

Meanwhile the council is set to bring forward a number of road works in the area which had been scheduled for later in the year.

Martin Low, city commissioner of transport said: “Some of the work was scheduled for as late as November and instead of disrupting the pre-Christmas rush, we have taken the burst water main as an opportunity to group together work in that area of the West End. It is the logical thing to do.”

The final job will be resurfacing the carriageway over the rebuilt road. This work will be overseen by the council, who own the road. The force of the water escaping from the burst trunk main caused two other, smaller mains to break.

Stopping water running through the broken mains, without interrupting nearby customers’ water supplies, involved turning off a total of 22 different valves embedded in the ground in the surrounding area.

This was one of the most complex jobs ever undertaken by the water firm. Its engineers will face a similar challenge when they run water back through the repaired network under Regent Street.

As well as the nine different water mains running under the road at this junction, there are also gas mains, fibre optics cables, phone lines and power lines. Great care is being taken not to damage these services.

The trunk main repair involved breaking up and removing a two metre-thick layer of reinforced concrete while taking pains to avoid other assets under the road. In all, 150 tonnes of road materials were excavated before a new 10 metre long section of main was inserted [CWMAGS]

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