Rock mountain takes shape on beach

THIS enormous rock mountain is the face of modern sea defence.

THIS enormous rock mountain is the face of modern sea defence.

Standing at the end of Felixstowe seafront, the hundreds of tonnes of granite will soon stand between the low-lying part of the resort and the waves which threaten to flood it every winter.

Week by week the mound has grown, with deliveries at every high tide adding more and more boulders of all shapes and sizes.

It has become quite an attraction - people stopping in Orford Road and Langer Road to look, fascinated by the size of it and the two smaller man-made mountains on the shore.

Rock-busting trucks spend hours each day breaking the stone into smaller pieces and moving it ready for collection.

Contractors from Team Van Oord are using the rocks to build 21 T-shaped groynes between the War Memorial and Landguard along the most vulnerable part of the resort's seafront.

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This is the area each winter where the North Sea floods the gardens and occasionally splashes over the sea wall and floodgates into Sea Road, threatening 1,600 homes and businesses in the southern part of the resort.

The groynes - assisted by 200,000 cubic metres of beach replenishment - will help prevent erosion of the shore and protect the area for the next century, keeping at bay rising sea levels.

Many residents would have preferred wooden groynes - which have been highly successful at The Dip at Old Felixstowe and look nicer than ugly rocks - and these would have worked out a lot cheaper, at around £75,000 each.

However, while they are effective, they are prone to rot and boards need regular replacing, and storm damage can take its toll.

Consultants say rocks are the answer for Felixstowe and will prove in the long term to be worth the £10 million being spent now.

The contractors are currently working on the most difficult area - where even at low tide there is very little beach these days - but hope the sea defence project will be completed next month.

Piling work is also taking place to install 6.5m steel sheet piles along 160 metres of prom from Platters Road to Beach Station Road, where the prom started to collapse due to erosion.

The contractors have apologised for the noise and vibration caused by the piling.

Have you been affected by the rock deliveries? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail