Pier's first three bays could be ready in 2020

Sunday 29th September 2019 9:30 am
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Ongoing restoration work on Queen's Pier, Ramsey -

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Volunteers working to restore Ramsey Pier hope to be able to finish the first three bays next year.

The Queen’s Pier Restoration Trust signed a five-year lease with the government in July 2017 to refurbish the first three bays of the Victorian landmark.

Project manager Stuart McKenzie said: ’As far as an estimate of when phase 1 will be completed, i.e. bays 1-3, this is difficult to calculate until we see what problems come to light.

’But if no major problems are encountered, and we can get a decent fabrication slot for bay 2 and 3’s steel, then I would hope the initial pilot phase can be completed next year.

’However, as with all community-led projects in the island, we need additional funds and a greater pool of volunteers to ensure success.’

The first big lift for the pier project took place over three days in May when corroded iron girders and cross bars on bay one were replaced with new steel.

There are 60 bays in total and eventually all the ironwork along the length of the pier will have to be replaced.

The pier closed in 1990 but the volunteers are looking forward to the day when the public will be able to walk along at least a short section.

Their latest job has been fitting cast iron grids that have an important role in reducing the impact of the waves by allowing the water to pass through them at high tide.

Fourteen of the 30 cast iron grids that sit above the wave breaker at the land end of the pier have been returned from being sandblasted and undercoated.

So far four have been relaid, including the grid on which the pier train rail will sit.

Stuart said: ’We have put in place the first four of a total of 30 including the first of the ones which contain the in-built railway lines.

These are acting as a template for the accurate positioning of the others.

’Our problem is that we are having to re-use the original greenheart 40ft beams as even second hand replacements were quoted to us at £7,000 each - plus transport from the south of UK.

’These still have some iron bolts within the wood that cannot be extracted so we have to position the grids to avoid these encumbrances.

Stuart said grit blasting of the grids by Gallas Foundry had exposed a number of cracks which have to be repaired before fitting.

He said once these are in place, the volunteers can concentrate on establishing the correct levels through from the entrance building out past the grids onto the decking.

But he said an added complication is that the pier abuts the promenade at an angle rather than at 90 degrees so all the beams at the prom end have to shaped to fit.

The community-led project has used innovating fund-raising methods including sponsoring planks and the 38 cast iron stanchions to be installed on the first three bays.

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