26 July 2012
Last updated at 19:55
Work has begun on the final phase of repairs to the partially collapsed West Quay wall in Bridgwater, Somerset. The riverside wall suffered a major collapse on 4 November, moving up to 20ft (six metres) away from the quay and dislodging 600 tonnes of masonry.
A 32-tonne excavator, brought in from Shropshire, has begun to remove chunks from what is left of the wall. Concrete behind the masonry has been drilled to allow for hydraulic equipment to be inserted, making cracks and loosening it for the excavator to lift off.
After the wall has been removed, the construction team will build a small road in the river to enable them to bring in further machinery to complete the rebuild.
Peter Radford (r), Somerset County bridges manager, admitted it was a "very delicate operation" but said he was confident that all the stone could be salvaged. Mr Radford has been working closely with Conservative county councillor Harvey Siggs (l) on the scheme as well as a number of other organisations.
Martin Mackay from Crestmoor Contractors in Wincanton, the contractors repairing the damage, said it was the biggest job he had ever seen.
During the restoration work, the construction team has found a number of interesting items "in the chasm", the name given by engineers to the large gap created by the partial collapse. Clay pipes and bowls are just some of the pieces found behind the 300-year-old wall.
Following the heavy rain on 4 November, Fore Street, West Quay, East Quay and Town Bridge were closed. West Quay (pictured) remains closed and many local businesses have been affected.
Adrian Fraser, from West Quay Records, who has run his shop for 24 years, said his recent trade had been "decimated". "I'm taking now less than half of what I was before the wall collapsed. It can be very demoralising. It's very hard indeed," he added.