In Feb 2014 the Somerset Levels were completely under water and had been for several months. Relentless rainfall eventually put Bridgwater at risk and the powers that be decided on positive intervention by installing large water pumps from Holland.
One of a number of pumping stations was installed at Huntworth with the intention of moving water from the flooded area into the River Parrett at low tide enabling water to be pushed out through the tidal gates at Dunball at low tide.
In order to be effective the large steel pump outlet pipes needed to be installed and supported over both an open road and an adjacent supporting wall. Tyre bales proved to be the ideal solution. Three hundred tyre bales were installed, replacing the need to import over eight hundred tonnes of aggregate. The bales were placed over the existing carriageway surface and then capped with a nominal 300mm depth of hardcore.
All installed and removal works were undertaken overnight which kept traffic disruption to minimum. The cost of using tyre bales was less than half what it would have been to use virgin aggregate.
The bales effectively formed a temporary ramp over the steel pipes to protect them whilst being crossed by heavy delivery vehicles and site traffic and meant that pumping operations could take place without the need for a road closure.
A further advantage of using tyre bales against aggregate was that the existing carriageway was protected. Once the stone capping was removed the tyre bales were lifted and cleared from site and the road reopened needing a minimal clean up operation and no significant damage had been done to the carriageway surface, contamination by stone spillage was also negligent.