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New Ipswich flood barrier to help protect more than 1,600 homes

PUBLISHED: 18:27 27 October 2017

The barrier gate being lifted. Picture: HOLLANDIA

The barrier gate being lifted. Picture: HOLLANDIA

A new tidal gate has arrived in Ipswich to be installed as part of the town’s new flood barrier.

The Ipswich Barrier Gate on the water. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYThe Ipswich Barrier Gate on the water. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

A new tidal gate has arrived in Ipswich to be installed as part of the town’s new flood barrier.

The delivery of the gate is a major step towards the completion of the £70 million flood defence project which has been a decade in the making.

The gate is 22 meters wide and nine metres tall when closed and was painted with five tonnes of specialist paint to help protect it from water damage once it is installed.

Once installed, it will form a significant part of the barrier across the New Cut River.

Aerial photos show how the tidal barrier is shaping up. PICTURE: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYAerial photos show how the tidal barrier is shaping up. PICTURE: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

It has taken two years to design and build the new gate, which was produced at a Dutch firm called Hollandia in Rotterdam.

To get to Ipswich the gate had to take a 24 hour boat trip across the North Sea before being brought up the river, under the Orwell Bridge and into the Port of Ipswich.

The gate is currently sat on a barge in the port waiting to be installed as a specialist crane will have to be brought in to complete the job. The 1,000 tonne crane needed will have to be constructed on site before lifting the gate into place.

Project Manager, Andrew Usborne, said: “This is a key milestone for the project and sees the final elements of the barrier arriving on site. The construction of the crane will take several days and this is a very busy period for what has been a long-running project. It’s another step closer to significantly improving the flood protection for Ipswich.”

The barrier gate in the air. Picture: HOLLANDIAThe barrier gate in the air. Picture: HOLLANDIA

The Ipswich Flood Defence Management Strategy hopes to reduce the risk of flooding to 1,608 homes and 422 businesses, and will protect those who live upstream from a tidal surge like those experienced in 1953 and 2013.

The 2013 surge flooded a number of Suffolk homes and roads, particularly in coastal areas.

The new barrier has been likened to the Thames Barrier. Once the gates are installed hydraulic rams and control systems will be added after which the system will undergo eight weeks of tests.

The project was funded by a partnership between the Environment Agency, Ipswich Borough Council, Department for Communities and Local Government, the Haven Gateway Partnership, and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership.

The Ipswich Barrier Gate on the boat. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYThe Ipswich Barrier Gate on the boat. Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

The barrier is expected to be operational in the spring of 2018 with the final touches being put to the whole project shortly after.

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