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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Douglas Park "Twin Bridges" story in Herald

The Sydney Morning Herald, Tuesday November 20, 2007 carries a story by Wendy Frew entitled: "Risk to life, but more mining under Bridge".

This story is a follow up to my blog article of 17 July 2007, where I reported on the problems being created for the Twin Bridges, (and potentially for the huge amount of road traffic which uses this main arterial highway) because of Longwall Mining close to these bridges, by BHP Billiton ("Illawarra Coal").

Northbound traffic restricted to 40 KPH,
and single lane traffic, on 17 July 2007.
These restrictions were in place for several months.
Wendy has followed up information given to her by Dave Burgess, Caroline Graham and myself, as well as some other local people in the Douglas park area.

"Geotech" drilling under way, 17 July 2007
The intriguing thing is that if there is no problem with the "Twin Bridges", as the RTA claims, how has the RTA managed to persuade BHP Billiton to pay $9 million to fix a "non-existent problem?

"Job card" for the "Twin Bridges" geotech survey
This is to certify that I have seen core samples taken under the Douglas Park "Twin Bridges" - marked as having come from 18 to 22 metres below the ground. The core samples were totally cracked, diagonally. The cracks were slanted at an angle of about 30 degrees. The core samples had been collected by the site manager to show to his boss. The project reference name of the drilling contract is PSM883.1. The location was the Twin Bridges, Douglas Park. The date was 17 July 2007. Denis Wilson

PSM refers to Pells Sullivan Meynink, major consultant engineering company which was doing a "geotech" study on behalf of the RTA.
Just in case you thought that I was making any of this up - here are the core sample trays, as marked by the workers.
POST-SCRIPT: 20/11/2007 10:30am.
I have just had an interview with Nick Rheinberger on ABC Illawarra (following Professor Pells), where I put it to them that Prof Pells is being a bit disingenuous with the audience of ABC Illawarra. Professor Pells stressed that there was a problem in 2005, but some distance away, not under the bridge. If that is the case, why was his company taking core samples directly under the bridge, in July 2007? He could put this issue to rest by publishing the drilling logs taken by his company on 17 July 2007 and the results of a second drilling test done after 17 July 2007, if he maintains that there is no problem under the bridge (as he said on radio this morning). I know what I saw (the cracked core samples).

According to a journalist friend, Professor Pells had acknowledged that there was a problem with the original core samples (possibly they were damaged in handling?).

(DJW comment: Yeah, ... Right!).

Apparently PSM re-did the core samples, and the new ones were fine.
Maybe. But I know what I saw.

It would be simple for Professor Pells to publish the dates and depths and condition reports of the second lot of drilling logs. Without those logs being published then this Blog author stands by the evidence of his own eyes.

I stand ready to correct the record when Professor Pells provides documentary evidence of further core samples at the depths of 18 to 22 metres deep, taken on a later date, having come out solid and not cracked.

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