In 1960, Portsmouth Water was installing an 18? fibre reinforced concrete (FRC) water main from Fishbourne to Birdham to improve the water pressure in what was a rapidly growing area. It was during the excavation of a trench for this main, that the remains of Fishbourne Roman Palace, one of the most important archaeological sites ever discovered in Britain, were discovered.
The integrity of this FRC main has weakened recently, due to the corrosion of the steel couplings used to join the pipes, which has led to leaks.
Knights Brown was appointed to carry out the works involved with the replacement of the FRC main with 800m of 450mm diameter ductile iron water main, with associated bends, valves, fittings and thrust blocks relocated away from the main building and artefacts at the Fishbourne Roman Palace. Another section of pipe, which ran through nearby residential gardens was relocated to mitigate against damage and disruption that could potentially be caused to residents in the event of a future burst main in the area.
A section of pipe laying works in the highway was undertaken in short sections under single lane traffic controlled lights. Close liaison was maintained with residents, the primary school and Fishbourne Roman Palace throughout the contract, while maintaining access at all times.
Excavation work was closely monitored by archaeology specialist, who preserved, catalogued and reported the minor finds encountered.