Until recently Ganny Lock at Brighouse, on the Calder and Hebble Navigation, was in danger of becoming non-operational, with the weight of a large embankment putting increased pressure on the lock walls, and consequently on the gates themselves.

Galliford Try, project managers for British Waterways’ Omnibus II scheme, called in drilling experts Condor Projects to help keep the waterway up and running and the lock at Brighouse open.

Condor Projects, which has developed something of a “can do” reputation where pressure might scare others away, was invited by national contractor Galliford Try to project manage, design and deliver the solution.

Martyn Wiseman from Condor Projects explained: “We had a six week time frame to design, plan and deliver the project, so we knew from the outset it would be a tough call.” “Even before we could get to work on the embankment tons of silt were removed and a ‘portadam’ inserted to give enough room to tackle the job. We had to put in six metre mini-piles and literally pin the banks back using specialist drilling to insert eleven metre rods through sandstone and rock. It was also imperative that we returned the walls back to their original sandstone condition; it was far from easy.” Martyn continued: “The job also brought about some major logistic challenges. Apart from the confined workspace and restrictions, we had to get a specialist rig sent over from Ripamonti in Italy due to the confined and restricted working space.” These problems were all faced while the clock was ticking, as the Lock’s opening day quickly approached, but Condor’s robust plan delivered on time and to budget. Ian Ward, agent for Galliford Try, said: “We were confident that Condor would deliver the engineering solution required and we were not disappointed.”