CHESTER City Council will be starting the final phase of works to stabilise the collapsed section of city walls this week, which is expected to run through November.
The work will include installing props and anchors to support the internal face of the wall and stop any further risk of immediate collapse. As part of this work, scaffolding will be erected to allow access on to the site for workmen who will eventually reconstruct the walls next year.
Earlier this month a radar survey of the collapsed section was carried out. This new technology will help us to better understand the reasons for the wall collapse and predict any weak spots in adjoining sections. The information from the radar survey along with structural surveys will be used to develop proposals for the dismantling and reconstruction of the wall.
Works to restore the wall are expected to start in spring 2009. In the meantime, engineers are investigating the possibility of installing a visitor walkway around the collapsed length of wall.
Cllr Stuart Parker said: “The City Walls are a unique and historic structure that we are all very proud of in Chester. The City Council is fully committed to the restoration project for rebuilding the walls and also upgrading the towers.
“I am also very supportive of the plan to create a ‘bridge’ walkway around the collapse, that will allow visitors to again re-gain access to the walls, whilst the building work takes place.
“This will create a unique opportunity in itself for visitors to observe the specialised repair work being undertaken.”
Cllr Hilarie McNae added: “I am very excited about the City Walls project. We are already beginning to learn a lot more about the history of this part of the walls.
“The use of cutting edge technology like the laser scanning and radar surveys have played a valuable role in understanding the condition of the wall and developing plans for its rebuilding. Chester is now undoubtedly a world leader in archaeological best practice.”
In April, Chester City Council closed a 30 metre section of the walls near the Chester Grosvenor Hotel & Spa in the interests of public safety after part of the ancient monument collapsed.
An exclusion zone has been firmly secured around the scene of the collapse alongside the Grosvenor Hotel and at the rear of adjacent properties. This is being patrolled by community safety wardens and the police have increased their presence in the area.