COMBWICH residents headed down to the wharf this week to watch as an enormous barge made its way in to dock.

The 80-metre-long Terra Marique barge was there to deliver the final parts of the huge tunnel boring machines to be used at Hinkley C.

The barge came in on Monday evening’s high tides (June 3) but then waited until the Tuesday morning high tide before the cargo was off-loaded.

The loads were divided into two delivery ‘packages’ to the power station site, each departing on Wednesday morning under police car and motorcycle escort and support vehicles.

David Eccles, head of stakeholder engagement for Hinkley Point C, said: “The final large components of the tunnel-boring machines needed for construction of cooling water pipes were delivered from Avonmouth into Combwich Wharf on Monday evening.

“The cargo was then unloaded before being transferred safely to site by transporter on Wednesday morning for the final few miles along the C182 road. Avon and Somerset Constabulary and the Hinkley Point C logistics team worked together closely to ensure that it all went to plan and avoided causing too much inconvenience for local road users.

“We much appreciate the patience and understanding of the local communities as we carry out these movements safely.”

The components are now on the HPC site and will be assembled for use later this year.

EDF say Hinkley C is on track to meet a key milestone, known as J0, which is when the contractors will pour the final concrete of the ‘common raft’ - the reactor’s main foundations.

‘Jalon Zero’ (J0) is a French term meaning ‘milestone zero’. At Hinkley Point C it refers to the point where EDF will start building the nuclear power station’s structures above ground.

A total of 5.6 million m3 of rock was excavated for the deep dig and 9,800m3 of concrete has been poured so far.

Martin Burke, Bylor Construction manager, said: “The final concrete pour of more than 9,000m3 of concrete will be the biggest in the UK and will take five days. This has always been a major project milestone – all eyes are on us, and we’re confident we’re going to meet this goal.”