Friday 18 December 2015

Why are things never simple in the orchard?

Finally on Thursday we were able to pour concrete to form a beam to support the new gate post and fence posts on the top of the river bank at the Turnditch orchard. The beam is about two metres long and approximately sixty cm square in profile. It took roughly 2/3 of a cubic metre, about 1.5 tonnes, of ST4 grade concrete with added polyester fibre to reduce cracking to complete the beam.  The actual pour process only took about 30 minutes from the time the mixer lorry arrived. We now have to leave the beam for a couple of weeks to harden somewhat before setting up the posts. 

Concrete beam supporting gate post

In the picture you can see the fence post cast  in place. It looks a bit tilted, but that is just caused by the camera angle. According to the  builder's level it is well squared and vertical. At the base of the post you can make out a couple of layers of plastic bubble wrap. This was added to increase the diameter of the post socket hole in the concrete. We'll lift the post, remove the bubble wrap, and then reinstall the post with dry sand packing. This will allow subsequent removal of the post for maintenance without damage to the concrete beam. 

You can also see a dummy post embedded in the concrete. This also has bubble wrap and acts as a form for the socket hole in the concrete for the gate post. When we are ready to install a gate post we'll pull out the dummy post leaving a clean hole for the new post. 

There is a matrix of steel reinforcing bars hidden and embedded in the concrete to strengthen the beam. The steel is carefully designed to resist the potential stresses from the posts. During the next few days we'll cover up the concrete beam with aggregate/soil from the original hole so people will be unaware of the minor civil engineering buried beneath. As mentioned in an earlier post this work will help to prevent river bank collapse so close to the road bridge. 
It was a lot of work, when all we were expecting was to drive a post in for a short fence on the river side bank.

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