Chasewater – progress at last

Last Friday evening, I swung out to Chasewater to check out how the dam works were progressing. Things seem to be underway again after a pause for reassessment, and many elements of Lichfield District Council’s plans seem to have been either abandoned, or scaled back. Since taking on the park and dam project, Staffordshire County Council seem to have brought a sense of proportion to the formerly panic-stricken tone of Lichfield’s plans. One can only wonder what stopped Lichfield getting decent engineers in originally.

Since the bodge on the railway causeway culvert where the insert pipes were too high and the height of the rail track had to be considerably raised, the guard rails and finishing touches have been fitted to the new crossing, but the surface quality of the relaid adjacent trail is very poor and sectional fencing is littering the causeway like abandoned scrap. That whole aspect of the project has caused some disappointment amongst park users, who were expecting the new channels to replace the old, rickety metal bridge at the top of the causeway, rather than form a new crossing independent of it. Attempts by one such user to ask questions about this on the Official Chasewater Dam Blog were met with indifference, and the keepers of the blog – still Lichfield Council – are now just ignoring all reader feedback. So much for new media.

Contractors are currently engaged in building a coffer dam around the outlet culvert in what’s left of the lake. This culvert is quite near the edge of the pool, which is why one edge has had a fence erected around it for several months. Once the culvert has been inspected and any necessary remedial works carried out, the lake will be allowed to naturally refill. However, don’t hold your breath for a quick fill, as after the dry summer so far, no water s flowing into the swag – the upper lake – at all. Something tells me this will take years to refill. Let’s hope the lake hydroecology can stand it.

As usual, there’s plenty of information on the excellent Chasewater Wildlife Group’s news page, and some rather dry, but recent updates on the official Chasewater Dam Blog. I hope the work will soon be finished and that Chasewater can get back on the road to recovery.

A coffer dam is to be built around the mouth of the outlet pipe - the culvert that joins Chasewater to the Canal - in order that is can be drained and inspected for damage. Sectional piling is being pile driven into the lake bed to hold back the water. 6:15pm, Friday, 29th July 2011.

Apparently, the botched culvert in the Railway Causeway is now complete. There's now a hump in the rails where the level of the track was not allowed for in the design. The path - mostly just spread railway ballast - is very poor and discarded sectional fencing litters the area. This is a country park, for Pete's sake. 5:56pm, Friday, 29th July 2011.

The works at the northern end of the dam seem well advanced. Piling has been driven in at the foot - 'toe' of the dam and a gravel filter been backfilled between it and the dam itself. This is a much different design to the one previously suggested by Lichfield Council. 6:13pm, Friday, 29th July 2011.

After months of delay, prevarication and indecision over Neil Turner's ill-fated 'filter material' selection process, more experienced engineers are clearly happy with standard pea gravel. 6:17pm, Friday, 29th July 2011.

This entry was posted in Bad Science, Brownhills stuff, Chasewater, cycling, Environment, Followups, Fun stuff to see and do, Interesting photos, It makes me mad!, Just plain daft, Local Blogs, Local media, Local politics, News, Panoramio photo discussions, Panoramio updates, planning, Shared media, Social Media, Spotted whilst browsing the web, Wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Chasewater – progress at last

  1. Chris Hockey says:

    Great to see some movement at last – not before time.

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