Flood protection works completed to protect West Dorset
A team of contractors, led by Dorset Highways, has successfully completed three months of flood protection work in West Bay. The project highlights the benefits collaborative working, with Dorset Council, the Environment Agency, Parkdean Resorts UK and Jacobs Consultants working together to protect the riverbank from erosion.
Dorset Council’s Flood & Coastal Erosion Risk Management team appointed Dorset Highways as principal contractor to manage the construction work.
Situated next to a popular holiday park in West Bay, the downstream western riverbank of the River Brit was at risk from breaching and flooding the site.
Work started on 30 November 2020, with a twelve-week window to complete the work by 26 February 2021 to ensure the holiday park was ready to reopen for the start of the visitor season.
This challenging programme kicked off with the removal of 29 static caravans from the works area, ten of which had to be lifted off the site by crane.
Next, 380-tonnes of stone was laid to create a haul road along the riverbank, not only did this allow safe access for heavy machinery, it also protected the caravan park infrastructure.
In total, 639 sheet piles were installed – averaging around 8m in length – to create a 390m-long flood defence wall. A welded capping plate has also been fitted along the top of the sheet pile wall, with the piles painted to protect them against the elements.
The riverbank was regraded using a 20-tonne long-reach excavator, with a 14-tonne excavator compacting the ground. At some points, over 150-tonnes worth of machinery was moving around the site.
General maintenance was also carried out to the surface water drainage around the three outlet pipes, including building new access steps, and leaving the caravan pitches, and holiday park grounds as found.
Within this construction activity caravans were returned to their bases each week as the work progressed along the riverbank, meaning the works area had to be reinstated – and the haul road removed – as work progressed. The first two caravans were returned to their pitches only four weeks into the project.
This allowed the resort time to reconnect services and outside decking areas for each holiday home.
With construction work finished, the works area was landscaped with 300-tonnes of topsoil levelled and 1,450m² of turf laid, and the main entrance to the popular holiday park was re-instated.
David Clegg, Dorset Highways Service Manager for Operations, said: “This project had a challenging timescale, during what is a challenging time for all construction sites ensuring workers are in a COVID-secure environment.
“This was not made any easier by the weather conditions throughout the winter period. It was a difficult challenge to balance the needs of the local community and the safety of those working on the site. It is humbling to see what the team were able to achieve in this environment.
“This project has demonstrated the benefits of our highways mixed-economy model, where we can work with private sector partners as well as maintain our own skilled in-house workforce, which makes us an agile, modern highways service.”
Construction delivery partners for the project include Suttles Piling, KTM Fabrication, CC Infrastructure, Mark Farwell Plant Hire, G & P Services, Crestmoor Construction, Haskins Fencing and Hanson UK.
Cllr Ray Bryan, Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment, said: “I’d like to praise the efficient collaborative working of our highways and flood and coastal erosion risk management teams in delivering a challenging scheme, quickly, economically and to a high standard.
“I’d also like to thank the team at Parkdean Resorts for working with us to deliver this scheme successfully.”
Dorset Council’s Flood & Coastal Erosion Risk Management team, as asset owner, was handed over the detailed design from the Environment Agency and obtained the remaining planning consent, Environmental Permit and Crown Estate licence in the pre-construction phase and oversaw the works.
This was the third and final phase of the West Bay Coastal Defence Scheme.