High pressure job at the top of Blackpool Tower

JETTING OFF: A worker in protective gear as he jet sprays Blackpool Tower
JETTING OFF: A worker in protective gear as he jet sprays Blackpool Tower

CONTRACTOR MPM North West is using high-pressure water jets in the £6m project to restore Blackpool Tower to its former glory.

Jetstream Europe has just supplied a second ultra-high pressure water jet unit to the 20-strong team in charge of refurbishing the iconic 518ft structure.

The additional machine is being used as part of an accelerated works programme to revamp the top of the tower in readiness for the opening of a new observation deck in September. The full restoration programme is set for completion in 2015.

MPM North West workers are stripping away decades of paint and rust with the machines so that engineers can check the structure and replace any faulty steelwork before it is repainted in its original red colour.

The equipment was specially devised to be compact and lightweight so it was not only suitable for use on a purpose-built scaffold system, but could also be easily transported to the work site via the tower’s lifts.

In addition, MPM had to overcome other challenges to undertake the water blast operation including the installation of pumps to deliver water to a series of storage tanks situated at over 200ft and 300ft up the tower, as well as new power cables to supply the units.

Project manager Dave Hulme said: “During the operation, paint and debris is contained within the working area by protective sheets and netting. The material is then swept up, placed in dedicated tipping bins and later craned down.