St Helena Online

Tag: haul road

Airport walk gets diverted to a new horizon

Fund-raisers have been told it is not safe to go ahead with a sponsored walk up the airport haul road on St Helena – for the time being.

Fresh digging has taken place on the 14-kilometre track, creating a risk of unstable ground.

New Horizons youth service planned to stage the walk, through part of the island that few people visit, on Sunday, 11 February 2013.

The road was built to allow Basil Read construction vehicles to travel from Rupert’s Bay to the airport site on Prosperous Bay Plain. It will be turned into a public road once the airport is built.

Janet Lawrence, the airport project director, said: “Basil Read has been taking advantage of the good weather in recent weeks to continue works on the haul road, including excavation work to take the road to its final alignment.

“These works are still ongoing and there are obvious safety concerns with members of the public entering areas that have recently been excavated.

“Whilst Basil Read can mitigate risk for their workers travelling through the haul road in construction vehicles, this is not as simple in the case of pedestrians.

“Basil Read therefore took an operational decision to postpone the sponsored walk. The haul road is a construction site and remains closed to the public in the interests of safety.”

Nick Stevens of New Horizons said: “We were really disappointed that the walk was cancelled, as so many people were looking forward to doing it.

“But we have to accept the decision made by Basil Read, as they would know best in regards to whether the road is safe or not for people to walk.”

He said the walk would still go ahead on a different route, starting from Francis Plain and taking in Knollcombes, White Gate, Casons, Mackintosh, Rosemary Plain, Scotland, and Red Hill.

New Horizons walkers are in for the long haul (road)

The New Horizons group has come up with yet another novel fund-raising idea for its youth work – a sponsored walk up the new airport haul road.

The 14-kilometre track, built to carry construction traffic and materials from the new wharf in Rupert’s Bay to the construction site, won’t become a public highway until the airport is finished.

But contractor Basil Read has given consent for it to be taken over by pedestrians on Sunday, 10 February 2013.

New Horizons chairman Derek Richards said: “It’s an opportunity to see first-hand this new part of the  island’s infrastructure and to raise funds for a worthy cause.”

On 15 January, the youth organisation in Jamestown announced it was half-way towards raising the £12,400 it needed to take island teenagers to Ascension, to help prepare them for life in the wider world.

The bill includes seven return passages on the RMS St Helena, and the cost of meals for 35 days.

Fund-raising events have included this week’s Ladder Challenge, a car-wash, a reggae night, a Christmas bazaar and raffle, an open-air movie night, and the immensely successful creation of a haunted house at High Knoll Fort.

Donations have also been received from the Governor’s Office (£500), Derek Richards and gang (£110) and Marjorie and Dave Harding (£300).

The haul road walk will start at 09.30 hours. It promises to test the resolve of walkers: after a mile, they’ll be almost back where they started – but much higher up – thanks to the way the road climbs up the valley and doubles back towards the sea.

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Night working starts as rocks obstruct airport road

Airport road appears as a line cut out of the hillside - then stops
The haul road climbs out of Rupert’s – then stops

Airport gangs will work into the night for the next few weeks to force a way through rocks that are blocking completion of St Helena’s new haul road.

Heavy construction vehicles are stranded in Rupert’s Valley, unable to get through to the airport site, until contractor Basil Read has completed the last few hundred metres of the 14-kilometre route.

The vehicles were landed on 11 July 2012, on the first ship ever to dock at St Helena. They included a 70-tonne excavator that is now being used to help cut the road.

Basil rad construction site sign
Basil Read expects to complete the road in early September

The work was expected to take only two weeks, but consent has now been given for gangs to work until two o’clock in the morning – up to 21 September 2012 – to catch up with the airport construction schedule.

A statement from St Helena Government says:

“Basil Read has encountered rocky outcrops in this last section in Upper Ruperts, which has slowed down progress. 

“Following consultation with Ruperts’ residents, permission has been granted for Basil Read to work extended hours on the access track in Upper Ruperts. 

“No blasting operations are planned outside of daylight hours, but the works with the excavation equipment will continue into the hours of darkness.  The area will be well-lit, using portable lighting, and all appropriate safety measures will be taken.

Pink cladding appears on steel building frame on Prosperous Bay Plain
Pink palaces: the construction workers’ camp is taking shape at Bradleys

“The extended working hours will allow Basil Read to keep to scheduled completion of the access track.  This is a priority under the Airport Project in order for the plant to be taken to Prosperous Bay Plain – to start the main construction works there.” 

Work will permitted from 7am to 2am on weekdays, and until 6pm on Saturdays, with no work on Sundays.

Basil Read has established a complaints line for all Ruperts residents.

Work starts on airport haul road

Before and after images showing dense foliage, one with the dirt track winding through
NOW YOU DON’T SEE IT, NOW YOU DO: the new haul road through Bilberry Field, Longwood

Work has started on building a 14-kilometre haul road from Rupert’s Bay to the site of St Helena’s airport on Prosperous Bay Plain.

Yellow vehicle with catarpillar tracks
MIND THE BIRDS: this 70-tonne excavator will pass through Deadwood Plain

The first section has been cut through Bilberry Field, just to the north of the golf course at Longwood.

Some heavy plant, including a 70-tonne excavator, must be moved to the airport site before the haul road is in place. A temporary route up from Rupert’s via the Pipe Path and Deadwood Plain has been negotiated – through an area frequented by wirebirds.

Measures have been agreed to protect the birds.

The heaviest plant will not pass through the Deadwood and Bottom Woods area again until it is no longer needed, meaning residents will only be disturbed twice.

Saints walking through a field
SAINTS ADVISE: members of the Deadwood Syndicate

A syndicate of local people met with Basil Read staff to agree ways to minimise disruption, according to the latest airport newsletter. 

The company promises that the heavy plant will not cause environmental damage to Deadwood Plain.

Read the newsletter here.

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