The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Wednesday, 22 January 2020 01:00cat

Roman wall gives way after excavation works in England

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Roman wall gives way in Chester, UK Roman wall gives way in Chester, UK BBC

A roman wall partially collapsed in Chester, United Kingdom, probably due to construction works in the surrounding site.

The incident occurred on January 16, 2020. Part of the wall gave way during the night and, fortunately, no one was injured.

Chester is the only city in the UK that has preserved the complete circuit of its Roman walls. The walls were constructed for defensive purposes and their final military utilization took place during the English Civil War (1642–1651).

The oldest sections of the wall were erected at about 120AD. New parts of the wall were constructed after William the Conqueror's invasion back in the 11th century. The affected part of the wall was constructed at around 70-80 AD and is located near Newgate Street.

According to officials from Cheshire West and Chester Council, the failure resulted from excavation works conducted near the wall by a contractor. The ground that was removed from the bottom of the wall destabilized the Roman structure and “compromised the integrity of the ancient monument”. Chris Matheson, a Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of the City of Chester, stated that the developers had received a warning about the excavation works conducted near the wall.

Max Williams, the developer of the project that handled the excavations works, claimed that Mr. Matheson drew a conclusion too soon and without taking into consideration the company's point of view. "We are disappointed that Mr. Matheson has jumped to conclusions hours after the collapse without having any of the facts. We have contacted Mr. Matheson asking him to consider the facts and if he would meet us to discuss in detail exactly what happened leading up to the collapse, I am sure if he did so he would very much like to retract his statements to date," Mr. Williams, stated.

In any case, the exact cause of the collapse has not been announced yet as an investigation is underway. Construction works will be paused until the assessment is completed. “The council is taking this situation very seriously and we will ensure that a thorough investigation is carried out. I am thankful that no-one has been hurt as a result of this collapse and our priority will continue to be public safety,” Karen Shore, deputy council leader, stated.

About 11 years ago, a section of the wall nearby also gave way under unknown circumstances. The wall was stabilized and repaired with the cooperation of engineers, surveyors and archaeologists.

The face of the wall was supported with the utilization of anchors and when it was stabilized, the repair works initiated. The contractors tried to use as much of the existing wall materials as possible. The project was delivered in about 2 years and opened in 2010.

Sources: DailymailBBCCheshire-live


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