GD Harries create UK’s first concrete velodrome
New £500,000 structure poses interesting challenges for West Wales-based contractor
WEST Wales haulage, civil engineering and aggregates contractors GD Harries are celebrating the completion of one of their most unusual projects yet – the creation of a new velodrome in Carmarthen.
The £500,000 structure, believed to be the first and only concrete velodrome in the UK, posed some interesting challenges for the firm, which had to find a way to pour concrete on to a sloped surface without gravity redistributing it before it set.
‘The shape of a velodrome has no horizontal or flat areas; event the straits are slightly inclined, so laying concrete is quite challenging,’ said senior quantity surveyor Richard Burton. ‘We had to come up with method of getting it accurate, and making sure the concrete stayed where it was supposed to.
‘We achieved this by pouring the concrete into a series of bays, continually moving from the bottom to the top of each bay as we poured.’
The velodrome, which was funded by Carmarthen Town Council, Carmarthenshire County Council, Sports Wales and Welsh Cycling, opened at the end of October. It is used by the public and by local cycle team Towy Riders.
The new structure required 570 cubic metres of concrete, which GD Harries supplied, and is expected to last 50 years. It replaces the original velodrome, which was built in the early 1900s.
‘We were delighted to take this on as it was such an unusual project,’ said Mr Burton. ‘We enjoyed the challenge of finding the best method to use, and we’re very pleased with the finished result.’
The velodrome was officially opened by Carmarthen’s mayor, Councillor Alun Lenny, who praised GD Harries’ work. ‘The redevelopment of this facility, first used more than 100 years ago, has been a challenging but really interesting project and my thanks go to all who have worked so hard to make it happen,’ he said.