Stunning aerial views of Ipswich Waterfront reveal changes to tidal barrier defences
- Credit: Environment Agency
Work on the final stretch of Ipswich’s £70million tidal barrier scheme is underway and will be completed by the end of November.
The project should protect more than 1,600 homes and 400 businesses in the Waterfront area of town.
Last autumn the 200-tonne tidal flood gate was delivered from the Netherlands and tested by the Environment Agency during the snowstorms in February.
Now, work on the final section at the west bank is underway, which includes draining and sculpting an extension to the west bank and finishing off the area around the railway line into a public space.
Andrew Usborne, project manager, said: “It’s been good progress since March and we are just plugging steadily away at it.
“Once we have the west bank [finished] the barrier should be operating later this year.
“The finish on site is the end of November and there will definitely be an operational flood defence by then.
“The whole project is key because a lot of Ipswich development has been on hold while we have been doing this.
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“Once it is completed it should kickstart a lot of work in Ipswich. As part of the business case we are expecting 4,000 jobs to be created once the barrier has been completed.”
Mr Usborne said much of the spotlight had been on the large tidal gate housed in the cofferdam, but the rest of the work was also key.
“If you didn’t have the western link and the barrier around you still have a gap in the flood defences, so it is vital,” he added.
As it stands the project is expected to come in under budget.
Drone images released by the Environment Agency have shown how far around the tidal defences stretch, and how it has progressed since 2016 when work began.
Last month Ipswich Borough Council’s planning committee approved plans by Persimmon Homes to build 113 homes on derelict land by the west bank, after plans to develop housing there stalled a decade ago.
The former coalition government approved funding for the barrier several years ago after concerns were raised about flooding – including worries when a surge tide down the North Sea was seen in 2013.
The barrier is also expected to reduce insurance premiums for homes and businesses in the Waterfront.