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Chesil Cove repairs could cost more than £600k
REPAIRS to Chesil Cove after the recent storms could cost more than £600,000.
The indicative cost was revealed at a special drop-in session on Portland organised by Dorset Coast Forum and the Environment Agency. The repairs will be paid for by the government.
The Agency revealed an upper limit of £180,000 has been set to repair gabions, while an upper limit of £250,000 is for sea wall repairs.
Recent air and land surveys have an estimated cost of £15,000.
Meanwhile, shingle recycling, which has taken place since January, comes to £170,000.
Residents were invited to view the final plans for the Chesil Cove emergency repairs at The Little Ship in Chiswell this afternoon.
The event brought together the Environment Agency, Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, emergency planners, flood risk management officers and geologists.
Bridgett Betts, of Dorset Coast Forum, said the event was a 'unique experience' for people to voice their concerns to a range of different experts.
Neil Watson, coastal engineer at the Agency, said: “The sea wall repairs require steel sheet piles, which have just now been driven in and they will form a box section in front of the wall which has been eroded and undermined.
“That void will now be filled with concentrate and then capped. That will protect the toe of the sea wall.”
He added: “The plan is to place rocks in front of that section and other sections of the sea wall to dissipate energy and protect from scour.”
Charts, graphs and leaflets detailing the impact of the storms to hit the area were made available to those who attended today's exhibition.
Mr Watson also revealed work would take place on existing gabions in the next two to three weeks.
He said: “We are effectively going to repair, reinforce and replace gabions as we find them damaged.
“The original gabions went in as a trial and they were seen to have a life of perhaps 15 years. They greatly exceeded that life and we are thinking by doing the repairs, we will get back up to what we were.”
Residents have previously made calls for boulders to be removed from Chesil Beach, claiming they were being washed into the sea. They were initially put in place as part of emergency temporary sea defence repairs.
Mr Watson said what people have seen so far of the rocks isn't an indication of how effective they can be.
He said: “It is still our intention to put rocks in front of the sea wall to act as a wave breaker. These will be covered in several metres of shingle. They will be ready for the next severe storm.”
The latest plans have been drawn up by the Agency and the borough council.
Mr Watson suggested good civil engineering would remain paramount in any decision-making process.
“We are open to any comments or observations and we have brought the designs hot off the press to share and we are looking for feedback.”
He later added: “We can't compromise on emergency works from an engineering perspective if they won't stand up.”
Among those attending the exhibition were Margaret Young, 60, of Chiswell, who said: “Most of the information I've seen before, things about the flood defences and how defences work.
“It was interesting to see what they are doing about the Cove defence, repairing the damage to the sea wall.
“It was just a freak event. Hopefully we won't see the like again for a long time, but perhaps I'm just an optimist.”
'Rab' Stone, 73, of Chiswell said: “Because I've fished off the beach for a large proportion of my life, I'm of course interested in anything that concerns the beach and the sea wall.
“We have got an environmental authority, where we didn't have one before. We just had the local council.
“I think generally the whole thing is a good idea.”
Steve Daley, 62, of Weymouth, said: “What they are doing is like King Canute, trying to keep out the sea all the time.
“My idea for them was to build an artificial reef off somewhere between the end of the sea wall and Hallelujah Bay.
“It's a constant battle. Now the sea levels are rising, it's going to become a bigger and bigger battle.”
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