Huge 200-tonne barrier to arrive in October for Ipswich Flood Defence Scheme

Work on the Ipswich Flood Barrier taking shape. Picture: JASON NOBLE

Work on the Ipswich Flood Barrier taking shape. Picture: JASON NOBLE - Credit: Archant

A 200-tonne flood defence barrier in Ipswich is set to be installed in October as work on the town’s flood defence scheme continues on schedule.

The barrier is taking shape. Picture: JASON NOBLE

The barrier is taking shape. Picture: JASON NOBLE - Credit: Archant

Work began on the Ipswich Flood Barrier in October 2015, and after 18 months of work has seen nearly 3,000 tonnes of concrete and more than 1,500 tonnes of steel been used on the defence measures so far.

Now, as work continues on schedule on the barrier, project bosses have said the barrier itself – which weighs more than 200 tonnes and is 22 metres wide – will be erected in October, arriving by ship from manufacturers in the Netherlands.

“The gate is coming from Holland in October and will be put on a barge to come across the North Sea,” said Andrew Usborne, project manager.

“We will get a big crane which will lift it into place, so this concrete work needs to be done, and the control building needs to be completed.”

A rounded concrete structure is currently being put in place which will house the barrier itself, while concrete walls to the side of the river on both banks have already been made as part of the measures.

However, the design of the barrier means that it will rarely be seen by the public, as it will largely remain underwater.

1,500 tonnes of steel has been used in the project so far. Picture: JASON NOBLE

1,500 tonnes of steel has been used in the project so far. Picture: JASON NOBLE - Credit: Archant

If work continues on schedule, construction is due to finish next summer, although testing is expected before it opens fully.

Most Read

“At the end of the day a lot of people don’t realise that they live in an area that could flood, so this will protect the heart of Ipswich,” Mr Usborne said.

“It will protect against a one in 300 year flooding event, and if you get a surge the barrier will have to be used.”

The flood barrier will arrive by ship from the Netherlands. Picture: JASON NOBLE

The flood barrier will arrive by ship from the Netherlands. Picture: JASON NOBLE - Credit: Archant

Mr Usborne confirmed that all the boats which currently go through, which are mainly private and pleasure vessels, would continue to go through unaffected once completed.

The £58million scheme has been dubbed the “most important flood defence scheme in recent history” and is the latest chapter in the port’s rich history.

Mr Usborne added: “The port has been here since Victorian times if not before, so this will all tie in.

“If you think when they first built the Thames barrier no one thought it would become such an iconic part of the river, and hopefully this will be for Ipswich.”

Artists sought

As part of the scheme, artists are being sought to design and carry out two art pieces on the site, which will help connect the new barrier with the port’s history.

The deadline has been extended for entries until July 28, and must be able to withstand vandalism, be carried out by the artist themselves, and should have a maritime or Ipswich theme.

One piece will adorn the three doors to the barrier control building, while the second will be housed at a circular public space on the west bank of the New Cut, in an area which will become a hub for public activity and even feature public performances.

Andrew Usborne said: “We want this art work to be a visual representation of Ipswich’s maritime past and also to mark the creation of this new vital infrastructure for the town.

“These two commissions will provide a lasting legacy for the town’s most important flood defence scheme in recent history.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter