In one of my previous articles, “Folkestone Harbour Approach Viaduct & Sming Bridge – Joining the Circle” I was talking about how the refurbishment and opening up of this new public space in Folkestone was a positive way to reconnect the former railway station and viaduct to the town. This week I wanted to focus on the technical elements of another piece of work on the viaduct – the creation of an access point at the Beach Street end providing stairway and lift access to the viaduct. You may have seen activity and a new structure being put in place on the side of the viaduct in recent weeks.

Martello were appointed as Technical Architects for this part of the project and have been working alongside Principal Contractors Grahams to create the new stairway and lift, opening up the Viaduct and Swing Bridge with access from both sides. I thought it may be interesting to provide a little bit of the technical detail around the work so here goes….

This particular part of the project has been challenging for a number of reasons – primarily due to the proximity of the new structure to the ‘Listed’ Viaduct and the Harbour Wall. The foundations have had to be designed in such a way as to eliminate, wherever possible, any loadings on these elements.

To support the structure, two sunken concrete slabs make up the base, one for the stairs and landings and a second one for the lift shaft. Effectively the weight of earth removed from the site is the same as the weight of concrete used for the foundation slabs. Amber Precast supplied and installed the concrete bases.

Over the past couple of weeks the steel structure which will support the stairs and the lift shaft has been lifted and secured into place – you may have seen the crane on site lifting the steels. The supply and installation of the steelwork has been undertaken by Cooks Fabrications.

The next stage in the project will be the installation of the lift itself – this will be a n electric traction passenger lift which will be fully Part M complaint (wheelchair access) and will provide access from Beach Street to the viaduct for the first time – opening this new public space up from the Tram Road car park end. Finally, the structure will be provided with a suitable external cladding.

The plan is for this new access point to be opened towards the end of the year – we will be sure to post out some images of the finished project.