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Diamond Drilling on Ramsbottom Bridge

Ramsbottom Bridge
UK Restorations

The project brief

Our client UK Restorations chose us to work on their project repairing Ramsbottom Bridge which runs over the River Irwell in Ramsbottom, Bury. The bridge itself is an impressive structure built from hard, slate-like rock and is frequently used by both vehicles and pedestrians crossing the river. 

This was a relatively large project for the client as unfortunately the age of the bridge meant that it was becoming quite weak, and needed further foundational support to remain safe for people to cross. Our role in the project involved using diamond drilling techniques to cut into the side of the bridge to enable the installation of further materials to make the foundations of the bridge stronger. 

Throughout the project, we worked to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved and help the client to achieve the outcome. The deep hole required for the project, when combined with the very hard brick that had been used to build the bridge meant that this was quite a tricky job. Something else that had the potential to impact our work was the uneven surface of the bridge, which meant that it was quite difficult to safely bolt the drilling rig onto the wall. Making sure that the drill was correctly mounted to the wall was of utmost importance due to the project taking place in and around the river, also being located relatively close to the weir. 

However, despite this being a challenging job due to the age and structure of the bridge, we were able to avoid any major issues and our client was happy with the outcome of the project. 

Diamond drilling at Ramsbottom Bridge

The drilling depth required to suit the job was 4.5m in depth to allow for new structural elements to be added to the bridge, which would make it stronger. To achieve the holes required we used large, diamond-tipped drill bits to tunnel through the tough material. Whilst we initially thought working with this dense material would prove difficult, our diamond-tipped drill bits cut through the stone quickly and efficiently. 

Why was diamond drilling the right choice for this project?

Diamond drilling was the best service to meet the client's needs as to add further structural integrity to the bridge cuts of 4.5m depth were required. The depth required, combined with the tough stone meant that diamond drilling was the only viable option to ensure a precise, accurate cut that wouldn’t weaken the bridge further. 

Some of the benefits of this technique for Ramsbottom Bridge included:

Limited noise disruption - Whilst drilling through tough materials is unfortunately always going to produce some noise, diamond drilling is quieter than some of the alternatives. This was ideal due to the site being in a residential area with wildlife. 

Reduced amounts of dust - Diamond drilling produces less dust than other methods due to the usage of water as a lubricant. 

Clean, precise cuts - One of the most important safety factors we had to consider during this project was maintaining the structural integrity of the bridge. With it already being relatively weak, it was crucial that further damage didn’t occur in the drilling process as this could have posed serious safety issues. 

How was the structural integrity of Ramsbottom Bridge improved?

Our drilling into the original stone meant that the client could fill the holes with sock anchors and resin-based concrete that would maintain the original exterior appearance of the bridge, whilst improving the strength internally. 

Sock anchors

These anchors consist of stainless steel, a ribbed bar and a grout sock and were pressure grouted into the holes we had drilled. Sock anchors are a practical choice for older structures as they preserve aesthetics whilst benefiting the structure from the inside. 

Resin-based concrete

Resin-bound concrete was also put into the holes to add further strength to the bridge. Concrete is extremely durable, strengthens over time and can hold impressive weights, making it the ideal choice for the frequently-used Ramsbottom Bridge.

So, what did the clients think?

Though some elements of this project proved challenging, the client was pleased with the outcome, and the bridge will now be safer for everyone using it.