Multi-million pound flood barrier work for Ipswich starts this month

The site of the proposed new flood barrier.

The site of the proposed new flood barrier. - Credit: Archant

The final phase of the £53m flood protection scheme for Ipswich is due to start at the end of this month after the contract to build and fit the £21m tidal barrier was confirmed.

That means the town’s Waterfront should be fully protected from the risk of almost all likely flood tides by the time the barrier is fully in place in 2018.

It will finish a major flood protection scheme that was seen as vital to attract investment to the Waterfront and other low-lying areas of the town centre.

The Environment Agency has appointed the VolkerStevin, Boskalis Westminster and Atkins joint venture to build and install the tidal barrier.

It will be 30 metres wide and will be put in place across the New Cut. It will operate in a similar way to the Thames Barrier – although it will be considerably smaller.

Once successfully completed VBA will maintain the new tidal barrier for a further two years.

Work started on this section of flood defences two years ago and last year Environment Secretary Liz Truss visited it to see how the project was developing.

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Ipswich MP Ben Gummer was delighted that work on the final phase was now starting – although it was frustrating that it had taken so long to reach this point.

He said: “It has taken a very long time to reach this point, but once it is completed that part of Ipswich will have much better protection against flooding.

“That will mean that developers at the Waterfront can have much more confidence that they will not face flooding problems in the future.

“The fact is the whole project will only really be effective once this last work is completed and it is very good to know that will start very soon.”