Bearing Replacement Hydrodemolition


Precision hydrodemolition is possibly the most versatile, advanced method to remove defective concrete whilst protecting and preserving the steel reinforcement. 

One of our recent precision Hydrodemolition projects involved a series of six piers with twin stubs supporting an overhead roadway.  Each stub is fitted with an elastomeric bearing which requires routine replacement and meant 4.6m3 of concrete needed to be removed from each pier to access the bearing.

Continuous port activity and the bearings being situated below the road deck, meant RGL faced the added challenge of working in an extremely enclosed space.



Deploying two UHP precision Hydrodemolition teams to the location, using 2800 bar hand-held safety lances, the concrete was removed from around the bearing and reinforcing bars.

Adding to the complexity of the project, there was a possibility that asbestos may be present in the structure so RGL teams worked alongside asbestos removal and disposal specialists to manage the risk.

The use of precision UHP over HP ultimately gave RGL the ability to carry out the demolition in layers, minimising unintentional breakout and associated asbestos contamination and leaving the area clear for the main contractor to replace the bearings before recasting the concrete. RGL also ensured any wastewater generated was treated prior to being discharged into the site’s drainage system


Hydrodemolition has the following advantages over traditional demolition methods.

  • Limited noise pollution
  • Reduced dust pollution
  • Cost-effective
  • Time-effective
  • No microfractures in the remaining structure
  • Creates a high-quality bonding surface
  • Precise concrete removal
  • No damage to reinforcement bar 
  • No Vibration / HAVs concerns

Working within a busy shipping port that is undergoing other site building projects meant RGL were faced with additional challenges including:

  • Busy roads and crowded temporary works areas
  • Small, enclosed workspace 
  • High volume of temporary site works supporting the bridge reduced the available working area.