In sub-zero temperatures contractors and Trust volunteers worked together to move eleven concrete culvert sections from Great Wyrley to Darnford Lane.
They had been in storage in the Hazel Lane Colliery yard for exactly 12 years (to the day) but we needed to vacate the premises so they were moved to Darnford Lane where they will form the tunnel under the road. Six low-loaders were used to bring the sections to the site where our volunteers had prepared a special pad to support the crane. 100 tons of ballast was needed as a counter-weight because although the sections weigh only 21 tons a 250 ton capacity was needed because of the long reach.
Six months planning went into this operation so cancellation was not an option. Invited guests could watch from the comfort of the adjacent Darnford Moors Golf Club where Bob and Peter described the background to the day’s event.
Unfortunately, problems began when the 250 ton crane was held up. A 350 ton crane was provided instead but it broke down, delaying its arrival until the afternoon. Then high winds meant the lift could not take place and was postponed until Saturday morning. Work recommenced at 7am and went smoothly from then on.
Peter Buck, LHCRT engineering director and mastermind of the move, paid tribute to the many people involved in the eventually successful operation.
“The moving of these precast tunnel sections has been another of the challenges the Trust has been set and together our fabulous hardworking volunteers once again have risen to the challenge,” he said.
“I’d also like to express my gratitude to the drivers of Leicester Heavy Haulage, ABA Cranes, Walter Tipper, Tommy Coakley of Darnford Moors Golf Club for his co-operation and immense patience, Staffordshire County Council Highways Department who were out at 5.30am gritting Darnford Lane to allow the operation to go ahead, and the Misra brothers at Hazel Lane Colliery.”
Photos by Paul Marshall
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