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Take a look around the Ipswich Tidal Barrier

PUBLISHED: 11:20 04 October 2018

Tidal Barrier, Ipswich October 2018 Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Tidal Barrier, Ipswich October 2018 Picture: RACHEL EDGE

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The £70million Ipswich Tidal Barrier scheme was cast into the international spotlight this week, as worldwide flooding experts visited the site.

The annual I-Storm gathering took place in Ipswich from Monday-Wednesday, where flood defence experts from the likes of the Netherlands, Italy and the United States of America met to share knowledge on protection projects.

This year, Ipswich was the host venue, where the Environment Agency’s £70m tidal barrier scheme on the River Orwell was examined.

Work on the west bank of the Tidal Barrier, Ipswich October 2018 Picture: RACHEL EDGEWork on the west bank of the Tidal Barrier, Ipswich October 2018 Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Formal groundwork began three years ago this month, and is due for completion in the first week of December.

Marc Walraven, senior advisor on tidal barriers in the Netherlands, said: “I think it’s very impressive to see.

The new control tower at theTidal Barrier, Ipswich October 2018 Picture: RACHEL EDGEThe new control tower at theTidal Barrier, Ipswich October 2018 Picture: RACHEL EDGE

“What I very much like is it is in the surrounding of the population – you can really see the houses it defends, and that’s very interesting because sometimes barriers are much more seawards, and this one is in its surroundings that it defends.”

The barrier is set to open in the first week of December, and is expected to come in on budget.

Tidal Barrier, Ipswich October 2018 Picture: RACHEL EDGETidal Barrier, Ipswich October 2018 Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Last autumn the 200-tonne gate was shipped in from the Netherlands and installed, before tests in February.

The final stretch of work has featured landscaping on the western bank, and work on an open public area there, as well as final elements on the island site to the control tower.

Work on the Ipswich Tidal Barrier in 2017  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNWork on the Ipswich Tidal Barrier in 2017 Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Graham Verrier, operations manager for Norfolk and Suffolk at the Environment Agency, said some of the key things learnt from the I-Storm gathering have been maintenance of the bridge based on similar Dutch schemes, which should reduce mistakes and costs once the barrier is complete.

Mr Verrier added: “It’s quite an iconic structure, so we have worked really closely with the planners to make sure we enhance what we leave behind.

Work on the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYWork on the Ipswich tidal barrier, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

“We’re going to leave in a better situation than we found this small area.

“But also it protects 1,600 homes. That’s a massive benefit to people, 400 businesses where we all live and work, so it’s good for our economy and our own personal ability to be able to work.

Diggers filling in the newly sculpted section of the west bank of the Ipswich tidal barrier defences, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCYDiggers filling in the newly sculpted section of the west bank of the Ipswich tidal barrier defences, summer 2018 Picture: ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

“For people to come in and be really excited what we are doing here and learn from us as well has been a really good experience.”

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