Infrasafe recently won a contract with Balfour Beatty Civils to clear vegetation from five retaining walls in the Tyne Valley area, along the NEC2 between Blaydon and Hexham. The work was required so that Balfour Beatty could conduct detailed structural inspections of the walls.
The contract was to remove vegetation, by clearing the top of the walls, wall face and base. Clearance of the walls coincided with the Bird Nesting season, and so ARUP ecologists were used on site to conduct nesting surveys and the walls were marked with exclusion zones where nests were located. Most of the work was carried out during the daytime with no disruption to the normal running of trains; however the remainder was conducted during the night when it was necessary to work closer to the rails than day works would allow.
A number of the walls required our operatives to work using fall restraint techniques due to the heights involved. This was important to prevent falls from unprotected edges and full rope access techniques were used on a wall that required the team to abseil down the face to remove vegetation growing out of the structure.