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Repair work on Weymouth harbour ferry berth struck with delays
WORK to repair Weymouth harbour’s ferry berth has been hit by delays.
Council chiefs are facing a race against time to get the quay ready for the return of Condor Ferries which is planning to restart cross-Channel sailings in July.
Noisy work to drive in piles, to form deep foundations, was due to start a month ago but has yet to happen.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council confirmed there had been problems getting the old piles out, delaying the project.
Despite this, the council says it is still on track to complete the project in time for summer.
It will not have to find additional money as a contingency fund was set aside anticipating such problems.
The project completion date is scheduled to be May.
The council agreed a £3.9million project to fix the berth last year after the state of the crumbling quay became apparent and Condor switched its sailings to Poole.
Condor, Weymouth port’s biggest customer pumping millions into the local economy, says it will return as long as works are completed.
Contractor Balfour Beatty has been appointed to carry out the work.
Borough council environment spokesman Ian Roebuck, pictured, said: “Right from the start we recognised there were a number of project risks such as complications removing the old piles, obstructions when driving new piles in and poor weather which could result in changes to the timetable.
“So the contract has built into it a contingency margin of both cost and timetable.
“Some of these risks have materialised, with difficulties experienced with the pile extraction process.
“Additional piles have also been found that require removal and this has impacted the sequencing of the programme.
“At the present time the additional works are contained within the contract contingency fund and overall programme.
“The council’s effective project management is minimising the effect of these risks.”
Coun Roebuck added: “The project is on budget and we are on track to complete the works in time for Condor Ferries to return to the borough as planned on July 17.
“But we are not complacent – there is still a large amount of work to do and working in the marine environment always presents additional difficulties.”
Former Weymouth harbourmaster Peter Tambling suggested a number of factors could be to blame for the difficulties in extracting the piles.
These include the build-up of silt in the harbour washed down river, a tenacious bank of Oxford clay at the harbour entrance, and the coastal drift of material from westwards from St Alban’s Head.