Versatile Centriforce Recycled Plastic Profiles Solve Walkway Construction Headache

December 05, 2013 at 9:00 AM

A BUCKINGHAMSHIRE village is enjoying a beautiful and long lasting new lake boardwalk made entirely from recycled plastic films and bottles – after the versatile material helped solve a construction headache.

The new 68m-long, 1.8m wide walkway suspended across the lake at Watermead is made from Duraplas® plastic profiles from Centriforce Products.  The plastic profiles look just like wood but are expected to last for at least 40 years – much longer than a timber alternative.  The strength and versatility of the ‘plastic wood’ also enabled an innovative construction solution that saw the boardwalk bridge installed in four weeks with minimal disruption despite the challenging waterside location.

Watermead Parish Council needed to replace the existing 20-year old wooden walkway which was rotting and soon to pose a safety risk to pedestrians.   However, the initial bunded gabion wall design proposed would have entailed major construction works including disruption from heavy earthmoving traffic causing inconvenience to residents.  

The council approached Centriforce after learning of the success of the company’s recycled plastic profiles in providing durable public walkways at other sensitive UK locations.   Working closely with specialist contractors Environments for People, Centriforce found a solution to building the plastic posts, bearers and decking along the lake perimeter.  

A pile driver mounted to a mini digger which was positioned on a floating pontoon drove more than 100 three metre-long vertical posts two metres down into the hard clay layer below the lake bed to support the walkway framework.  A video demonstrating the construction solution is available to view on Centriforce’s YouTube Channel .

Together Centriforce and Environments for People designed an improved walkway that facilitated access for pedestrians, pushchairs and wheelchair users.

 “The construction solution we developed demonstrated the integral strength of Duraplas profiles which comes from Centriforce’s extrusion manufacturing process, making it capable of withstanding stresses that other types of recycled plastic profiles could not withstand,” explains Ronnie Doctor, Marketing Manager with Centriforce products.

Hugh Roberts, Environmental Consultant with Environments for People added that using plastic profiles had significant advantages over a traditional timber structure.  Treated wood could have split during construction, rotted and leached chemicals into the ground.

 “The recycled plastic profiles are so versatile to use.  They arrive in hundreds of pieces just like a giant Meccano set ready to be built.  The profiles can be drilled, sawn and bolted just like wood and also have a degree of flexibility to be shaped around curves in the structure.   On this project we had the added advantage of being able to float the profiles on the lake to transport them to where we needed them.”

Noreen Shardlow, Clerk to Watermead Parish Council said:
“The new boardwalk is absolutely fantastic.  This footpath is a busy thoroughfare to nearby properties as well as forming part of a popular circular walk around the lake providing access to all lakeside areas for everyone.   Many people have said they can’t believe the walkway is not made of wood when they first catch sight of it.

“As it is made entirely from recycled waste plastic we also have the added bonus of knowing the walkway is sustainable and will also remain in place for many decades without any effect on the local environment or wildlife.”

One section of completed recycled plastic walkway
Boardwalk being used after official opening
Full length of completed recycled plastic walkway at Watermead, Bucks

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