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New urban wetland gets steel-framed boardwalk

Spanning Canada Dock in south London, a steel-framed boardwalk will form a central element of the wider Canada Water masterplan.

The former commercial dock is being transformed into a wetland habitat, featuring islands, reed beds and trees, that will support a diverse range of plants, birds and other animal species.

An important element of the new public space will be a 170m-long boardwalk, which will snake its way across the western part of the dock, improving accessibility and creating a new thoroughfare for the development.

The boardwalk is said to be a one-of-a-kind architectural landmark, inspired by the history of the site. As the name suggests, the dock was once used by ships plying the North American route, supplying London with timber.

Offering a nod to this rich heritage, the steel boardwalk’s balustrade and decking are made from red hardwood, the colour of maple leaves, which are a national emblem of Canada.

The choice of materials was not just down to heritage and historical significance; a steel frame was chosen because it gave the project the desired 100-year lifespan.

Working on behalf of main contractor Galldris, S H Structures is fabricating, supplying and erecting approximately 91t of steelwork for the project.

The steelwork consists of a ladder frame, 4m-wide and fabricated in 18 sections that were up to 10m-long. The section sizes are determined by their position within the completed structure as they incorporate the curvature of the boardwalk and the three subtle undulations that are present along its length.

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