A multi-million pound construction project to protect Margate Old Town from flooding has now reached the halfway mark.
This is all part of Thanet District Council’s landmark flood and coastal protection scheme which will see the threat of flooding reduced from a one in 20 year event to a one in 200 year event.
The scheme, funded by the Environment Agency, is on target for completion in January 2013 and includes the construction of a huge structure which will stretch 200 metres along the sea wall on Marine Drive, around the King’s Stairs area. This structure will consist of a series of wide steps starting at pavement level that will continue seaward until they disappear into the sand.
The steps have been designed to reduce the risk of waves breaking over the sea wall during storms which could otherwise cause flooding to the low-lying Old Town area of Margate.
The finished structure will also provide an attractive new space for beach users to enjoy views of the beach, sea and Stone Pier, as well as providing access onto the beach for the first time from this part of the seafront.
The steps are one of four areas along the seafront to undergo major renovation as part of the scheme.
Work has already been completed to strengthen the Stone Pier and to reconstruct the South Sea Wall on Marine Drive. This reconstruction starts several metres below the existing beach level, and in the case of the stepped revetment, up to 28 metres seaward of the old sea wall.
Cabinet Member for Commercial Services, Cllr. Alan Poole, said: "Work along the seafront is really starting to take shape. We've reached an exciting stage with construction now underway on the new steps.
"The officers behind this design have worked hard to develop something unique for Margate. Without such an innovative solution, the new sea wall would have to be much higher to cope with the threat of storms, and would have been quite difficult to see over. This design not only has the huge benefit of removing the need for a high sea wall, but also provides an excellent public space for people to enjoy our fantastic sea views.
“I’m very grateful to local people, businesses and visitors, for bearing with us while work is underway. Although construction will continue until early next year, this scheme will have a life of at least 50 years, dramatically improving flood defences for the town.”
To find out more information on the scheme, including a schedule of the planned work, the impacts during construction and a scale model of the completed structure, members of the public are invited to visit the Coastal Flood Protection exhibition at the Visitor Information Centre in The Droit House, Margate. Call in at any time Monday to Sunday 10.00am – 5.00pm. The exhibition will be on display until September 2012.
More information is also available to view online at www.thanet.gov.uk/coastalfloodscheme or you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01843 577083.
- The stepped structure will be finished with more than 400 pre-cast blocks.
- Each block weighs up to 12 tonnes.
- The fill material that forms the heart of the structure beneath the blocks consists largely of recycled concrete from Dover Port.
- There are more than 30 different block types which make up the huge stepped revetment structure.
- Each individual block has to be placed with a high level of precision, within 2mm accuracy.
- The blocks will be delicately placed using a specially designed battery-powered vacuum lift which uses suction alone to lift and manoeuvre each heavy block into place with the help of a massive 67 tonne excavator.
- Due to the number of blocks required, and the level of precision needed to place each block, construction on the steps will continue until the scheme’s completion in January 2013.