Recent winter storms have demonstrated how a new section of sea wall constructed by BAM in Dawlish, Devon, can deflect waves back into the sea.
BAM completed the construction of a first section of sea wall at Dawlish in July as part of an £80m programme. It is currently building a second section, after work began in November.
The new sea wall was commissioned after a February 2014 storm cut off the only railway line to the South West.
The first section of the new sea wall runs 360 metres along Marine Parade west of Dawlish station.
Pictures taken during construction work showed the wall’s effectiveness with waves crashing over the top of the wall where the wave returns had not been installed but successfully being deflected back out to sea, where the curved panels were in place.
Further storms since completion of the first phase have seen the track remain protected along this section but still be flooded on the east side of the station, where work on the second section of new sea wall is ongoing.
During the construction of the second section of wall, BAM has been using an eight-legged, self-contained walking jack-up barge, known as a ‘Wavewalker’. Since November, the ‘Wavewalker’ – which is the only one of its kind in Europe – has been used to help deliver the piling at the sea wall.
Piling work is scheduled to be completed mid to late February. Once all the piles have been installed, the next stage of the work will involve ‘scouring’ the piles – to protect against erosion – followed by the start of the installation of the wall panels and concrete backfill.
This second section of sea wall is expected to take around two years to complete and once finished, this 415m section which stretches from Coastguard breakwater east of Dawlish station to Colonnade breakwater, will link up with the already completed first section of sea wall at Marine Parade.
The work is due for completion in 2023.