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Pipe Management Australia (PMA) has developed an extensive history of installing temporary barrier dams, or cofferdams to assist with stormwater asset management, but has recently seen a growth in requests to use the cofferdams for structural testing.

Cofferdam or temporary barrier dam
A cofferdam or temporary barrier dam

What is PMA’s Barrier Dam or Cofferdam Solution?

A cofferdam or barrier dam is a temporary solution for dewatering worksites and creating a dry work zone. PMA’s Swedish designed solution consists of a frame for support, metal plates for the wall and a membrane to seal the dam.

PMA team members set up the frame of a barrier dam
PMA team members set up the frame of a barrier dam

The wall ranges in heights from 0.65m to 2.4m. The cofferdam is comprised of interconnected, extendable sections that can be used to create walls of any length. This design provides a quickly deployable, robust, temporary dam system.

The frame of a barrier dam in place in a tidal area
The frame of a barrier dam in place in a tidal area

Where are cofferdams used?

As a provider of stormwater asset management solutions, PMA has implemented the cofferdam solution for a broad range of projects. The cofferdam can be deployed in ponds, tidal reaches, creeks and even rivers.

Some use cases of where PMA’s cofferdams can be installed include:

  • Stormwater outlet repairs and headwall installations
  • Drain maintenance
  • Culvert cleaning.
  • Boat ramp repairs
  • Bridge repairs
  • Sediment control
  • Water diversion
  • Water retention basins
  • Pond desludging
  • Pond liner repairs
  • Emergency services like flood response or firefighting operations
The frame of a barrier dam in place in a tidal area
The frame of a barrier dam in place in a tidal area

Recently, PMA’s cofferdam solution was deployed for works on a weir on the Logan River in Queensland. The 22m wide dam was installed to create a dry area while remediation work was conducted on the weir and fish ladder.

A cofferdam provides a dry work area for work on a weir in Queensland
A cofferdam provides a dry work area for work on a weir in Queensland

PMA’s cofferdams used for Structural Testing

Aside from the regular uses of cofferdams, PMA has recently seen a spike in requests for barrier dam services for bridge and culvert inspections. This can include creating a dry space for engineers to conduct structural and concrete testing within the culvert or beneath the bridge.

Wynnum

Recently, barrier dams were installed upstream and downstream of a bridge in Wynnum to create a dry work zone.

A barrier dam provides a dry work area in Wynnum
A barrier dam provides a dry work area in Wynnum

An assessment of the bridge was then carried out. CCTV tractor units were used to generate a visual inspection for engineers to review. A physical inspection was also carried out by our Client’s structures team.

Nudgee Road

On another project, PMA was contracted to clear out debris and prepare a dry area for structural testing bridges on Nudgee Road. PMA came up with a practical solution. Using barrier dams to create a dry work zone free from the tidal impact of the stream.

PMA team members removing mud from a culvert behind a cofferdam
PMA team members removing mud from a culvert behind a cofferdam

PMA removed 221.58 tonnes of waste from in and around the culverts which had become heavily overgrown (the equivalent weight to seven fully loaded cement trucks).

A barrier dam provides a dry work area for concrete testing.
A barrier dam provides a dry work area for concrete testing.

This allowed engineers to gain access and conduct the required testing while clearing the culverts to allow a clear flow and reduce the risk of flooding. 

These are just a few examples of the many uses of cofferdams. If you are interested in learning more about how PMA’s cofferdam solution can assist with your next project, please contact us today.

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