Bramley-Moore Dock has taken on a new look following the laying of a thick piling mat to support the heavy piling machinery.
A 300mm-deep covering of recycled stone is currently being rolled out on top of the compacted sand infill to allow the foundation piling to commence within the dock itself.
The process, which will result in 12,000 cubic metres of stone laid across an area of 40,000 square metres, is expected to take around a month, with piling in the dock set to commence next week.
Gerald Knights, Engineering Lead at contract partner Laing O’Rourke, explained: “The requirements for the piling mat are two-fold; firstly to protect the sand, which is still quite light and easily becomes airborne in high winds, despite the compaction process.
“Secondly, the piling equipment and all the support machinery creates high pressures on the ground - and the last thing we need is the piling rig to tilt over, or sink into the sand.
“The mat ensures we have a stable surface to distribute those forces, and the really good thing, from a sustainability angle, is that the material we are using has all been recycled from across the site.
“That means we can reduce the number of wagon miles on the road, and is far more environmentally friendly than quarrying new material.”
To date, the drilling of some of the 2,500 foundation piles - which are then capped to provide firm foundations for the super-structure - have been restricted to the solid ground on the north and south sides of the site.
From these pile caps, the first pre-cast elements of the concrete core of the stadium have already begun to emerge on the northern side.
And once the piling mat is laid, in tandem with the completion of existing drilling for the South stand, the heavy machinery can then be moved to within the dock itself.
Knights added: “As we complete an area of the piling mat there is a progressive hand-over, so as we complete the final phase of the north stand piling, we can then move into the dock itself from next week and start piling there.
“By that stage, all the piling in the south wharf will also have been completed.
“The mat itself will then stay in place for the duration of the piling process and, when that is complete, we will have to excavate some of the mat to build the pile caps, very similar to the ones we’ve already built in the north and south wharfs.
“Some of that material will then get re-used again, filling out around the pile caps, so again from a sustainability angle we get another use for it.”
Everton’s new home at Bramley-Moore Dock is recognised as the largest single-site private sector development in the country, contributing an estimated £1.3bn to the UK economy, creating more than 15,000 jobs and attracting 1.4m visitors to the city of Liverpool.
Once complete, the scheme will have acted as a catalyst for more than £650m worth of accelerated regeneration directly benefiting the nearby Ten Streets development.