3rd October 2016

The North East is now home to Europe’s largest reinforced earth wall structure, thanks to construction innovators Esh Group.

The North East firm’s civil engineering business, Lumsden and Carroll is behind the construction of a £2.7m reinforced earth wall that spans 200m and forms part of Newcastle City Council’s Fisher Street regeneration project, on Walker Riverside.

The works have created a large new development area, 10 metres below the previous site at Quay level

Reinforced Earth walls are used to stabilise slopes, and are constructed using steel “nails” which are drilled and grouted into a natural soil slope.

The technique is used where construction of a slope must take place from top to bottom, rather than from the ground up, allowing the slope to remain stable whilst reducing ground levels in front.

Steve Conn, construction director at Lumsden and Carroll, said the process behind the Fisher Street works was carefully planned, designed and implemented using technology.

He explained: “Lumsden and Carroll has been able to meet the client’s objectives within budget and timescales.  It is a credit to the whole team that worked on it.

We incorporated some sustainability measures into our work at Fisher Street – including disposal of waste at a nearby site, which slashed transport emissions; and the use of a Komatsu intelligent control system that saved 313 hours of digging time and further contributed to our summit 2020 emissions target as well as improving wildlife habitats around the periphery of the site.

Lumsden and Carroll was supported by another firm with North East roots.

Excavator manufacturer Komatsu – which operates a factory at Birtley – provided the firm with its Komatsu LC210i Intelligent Excavator and provided training and technical support in the initial work stages.

The machine operates using sophisticated 3D software and GPS systems integrated into the bucket control and allowed Lumsden and Carroll to carry out the tricky cutting of the 65 degree slope, without the need for a “banksman” to stand near the excavator and check accuracy, removing the issue of machine / pedestrians segregation.

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