Port work on schedule

WORK is progressing exceptionally well on the first phase of Felixstowe port's �250 million-plus expansion project - with construction bang on schedule.

WORK is progressing exceptionally well on the first phase of Felixstowe port's �250 million-plus expansion project - with construction bang on schedule.

Contractors Costain Ltd have completed the vast majority of the piling for the new 730 metre quay wall and reclamation of the riverbed to provide the new quay is well ahead.

As yet the Dock Basin has not been filled in, but is now cut off to the harbour and will soon disappear completely.

The first phase of the project - which when complete will provide more than 1,000 metres of extra berths for the world's largest ships - is due to be ready to receive vessels by spring next year.

Paul Davey, head of corporate affairs, said: “It is going really well and everyone is very pleased with the progress which has been made and the work is on schedule.

“They have been concentrating on the main quay wall and people around the town will have heard the piling but hopefully we are coming towards the end of that phase.”

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So far more than 84 per cent of the quay wall piling - some 231 piles, around 624m of the 730m total - are in place and the number is growing almost daily.

Filling in behind the piles to reclaim the land is starting and surface compacting will be taking place.

The new quay will feature 18.5 million paving blocks to cover its huge surface area, all to be set by hand.

The work is dramatically changing the look of the southern part of the port - as well as filling in its historic heart, the old Dock Basin, the old passenger ferry terminal has disappeared and Landguard Terminal, which was the UK's first purpose-built container quayside back in 1967, is being rebuilt and with 16m of deepwater alongside.

FASTFACTS: Felixstowe port's expansion

The new development, when completed, will create a total of four new deep-water berths, with a total length of 1,285 metres.

It will be equipped with 13 ship-to-shore gantry cranes

Total capacity at the port will increase by 1.5 million standard-sized boxes a year to 5.3m.

The project includes a �46.6m scheme to dual part of the railway line on the Felixstowe peninsula to increase rail cargo.

There will be benefits for the community, too - with a proper berth for the harbour passenger ferry, a new visitor centre and port viewing area, improved cycleways and lighting, acoustic fencing on the A14 to cut traffic noise, and improvements to the road network.