Maintaining hidden structures – Dorset Council news

We love our historic structures in Dorset, but did you know that many lie under the road?

old culvert and new pipe
Culvert before work and new Aquapipe

In Pimperne, just outside Blandford, work is drawing to a close on replacing an old brick culvert with new Aquapipe drainage.

A routine inspection found damage in the culvert, where water passing through the drainage system had scoured away the foundation material and the culvert abutments (side walls) were undermined in several places.

Due to the significant damage, where the road was at risk of collapsing into the weakened culvert, the most severely damaged section of the structure was prioritised for replacement.

Over the last seven weeks, highways workers have been carefully replacing around 25m of the brick arch culvert with modern 105cm diameter drainage pipe.

Due to the depth of the culvert, the work had to be undertaken slowly to ensure safe working conditions (within trench supports). The new pipe also had to be properly surrounded with concrete to support the top slab, which takes the weight of vehicles off the structure.

Work included:

  • hand digging around utilities
  • carefully connecting into existing brick drainage system
  • concreting around new pipework
  • creating reinforced concrete slab for road to run on

Work started on 6 June and is expected to finish by 5 August, with two-way temporary lights in place on Church Road and its junction with Anvil Road closed to provide a safe working space.

As part of the work, SSE will soon be on site to divert a high voltage power cable (supplies around 450 homes) to sit under the new drainage pipe.

The culvert will need further work, with phase two of the project scheduled for next year. This will replace more of the system and may also look at realigning a section that currently lies under a Grade II Listed wall.

culvert - damage under the road
Damage found during inspection


culvert damage
Undermining of the culvert abutments
culvert work in progress
Work to install the new Aquapipe
new Aquapipe
New pipe awaiting concrete work

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