Sea defence delay at Felixstowe

FELIXSTOWE'S new sea defences are four to five weeks behind schedule and unlikely to be completely finished until October.

FELIXSTOWE'S new sea defences are four to five weeks behind schedule and unlikely to be completely finished until October.

Contractors Team Van Oord had been hoping to have the works done by the end of August but there were always going to be a few unexpected problems with such a massive engineering project.

One which caused a few days' delay was the discovery of the bomb on the beach.

But despite setbacks, contractors say the £10 million scheme is progressing well with eight of the rock 21 T-shaped groynes complete and six more nearing completion, and the remaining seven well under way.

All of the 60,000 tonnes of rock and the 200,000 cubic metres of sand and shingle, weighing 500,000 tonnes, to replenish the beach and give it a good start have been delivered.

Environment Agency project manager Andrew Rouse said: “We are a little behind schedule and we now expect to be fully completed and off the site by early October.

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“By then we will be dealing with the very last pieces and clearing up the compound.

“The aim is to continue to open up sections of beach as work is completed so the public can enjoy the new areas of beach.

“Work will continue around the clock on all the aspects of the scheme.”

With the beach material pumped ashore, all resources are now focussed on groyne construction - two teams are working simultaneously to increase production rates.

The pumping station which was anchored offshore has been moved to a mooring in Harwich port. The sinker pipeline, marked by yellow buoys, will remain in place on the sea bed until it is moved down the coast for use on another project.

Works to reinstate the section of seawall and prom that collapsed in May 2006 is also progressing well with 150m of steel-sheet piled wall successfully two weeks earlier than anticipated.

Work teams still have to return to each groyne to put in place marker beacons at each end of the wish-bone part of the breakwaters. The green conical navigation markers will be similar to those used elsewhere in Felixstowe.

The project is designed to protect 1,600 homes and businesses in the low-lying south of the resort.

What do you think of the new beach? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk