18th & 19th March 2021 -Work Starts on Trial Pits at Pier
Plans: After five long years of planning and fundraising, the charity set up by villagers to restore the pier (Limekilns Heritage Trust) is taking first steps to initially save the collapsed south-west corner which has suffered very badly from recent storms. It is the Trusts intention to restore the pier as near identical as possible to how it was prior to the current deterioration, i.e. looking identical but with a much more resilient core.
Activity: During Thursday 18th & Friday 19th March several test pits will be dug by APL Construction Limited¹ to enable our appointed engineers (David Narro Associates) to better understand how the pier was constructed and advise on future plans.
Approval : The planned work has approval from Broomhall Estate, SEPA and Marine Scotland, and Trustees have consulted with Fife Council.
Survey : In March 2018 the charity commissioned David Narro Associates to conduct an extensive survey of the pier. Part of this survey recommended;
- establishing how much remains of the lower parts of the southwest corner of the pier. As it is hoped that sufficient remains off which to build the replacement wall.
- establishing how the external walls are founded. This could done by digging trial pits around the foot of the walls using a mechanical excavator.
Works: The trial pits are a necessary measure to plan any future restorative action. Without them it would not be possible to ascertain the extent and nature of the foundations upon which any future structural repair could be built and to allow determination of the possible courses of action to achieve that end. The pits would be dug and surveyed under the supervision of an engineer from David Narro Associates who is a Conservation Accredited Professional Advisor. The pits would be re-filled to their original level after survey.
These works will not require any new materials to be brought onto site. The machinery will be working from the pier and the excavation is only into the material that has spilled from the pier in the past few years. The depth of the dig will likely extend to 1 metre higher than the surrounding sea bed level. No excavated material will be removed.
As an ancillary aspect of this work, we would intend to raise some of the spill from the existing eroded section (fallen stonework and washed-out infill) to place on the exposed uneroded infill to afford some temporary protection from the elements as an emergency measure.
Once the investigation works are done the excavated material will be replaced to approximate previous levels, some of the spill material will be moved around inside the pier to try and help stem the erosion.
The Photograph below shows an indication of what the work entails. This may change due to site conditions.
Notes for trail pits and ramp (layout is from a photograph, taken August 2020 ;
Area A This will be approximately where the excavator will dig and form a ramp. This will enable the excavator to remove the large stones so that the surface of the underlying fill can be inspected, this will help in assessing the eventual layout of the Gabion cages.
Area B This will hopefully be a shallow trench to identify the back surface of the pier wall, this area will hopefully eventually form the base for the first layer of Gabions.
Area C This will be a trench dug out to expose the outside face and corner of the Pier, the depth and extent of this will need to be decided when the excavator is on site. This area will be backfilled to or above the level of the existing pier wall, thus protecting the integrity of the structure.
Area D This may be used for depositing some of the excavated material but because of the fragile nature of the west wall the extent would need to be decided.
Area E This will be used to deposit the excavated material and possibly some of the big stones. This will help to stem the erosion of the surfaces near the east wall
Funding : Thanks to Awards for All, generous donations from villagers and a variety of fundraising activities over the past 5 years, Limekilns Heritage Trust has been able to meet the costs of these test digs. To progress beyond this stage will require more expenditure on running costs of the project, materials and a contractor to complete the restoration. Consequently, there will be more fund-raising activity required as well as in kind support from villagers if we are to re-build the pier.
Safety : Safety of members of the public is key with work of this nature, not only because heavy machinery will be operating but also to ensure COVID restrictions are complied with. If you are in vicinity of the pier during these works, please keep a safe distance and stay behind any safety barriers. Thank you for your co-operation.
¹APL Construction Limited were appointed by Scottish Water in 2019 to carry out repairs at Capernaum pier and the trustees have been impressed by their work.