New details have been made public about the work on re-building one of Weymouth Harbour's crumbling walls.

Some preparatory work will now take place between May and September – although Dorset Council says the effects will be minimal.

The appearance of a piling barge in the harbour in recent days has led to local speculation that work on Wall D, by the rowing ferry steps, was about to begin.

The improvements to the wall had originally been scheduled for early this year, to be completed by Easter, but was then changed to the autumn.

The harbour is now under the control of the Dorset Council which came into being on April 1st, replacing the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council as harbour authority.

Dorset Council says the barge and crane is working on piling and new pontoons at the Weymouth Sailing Club Cove area – work which is expected to finish by April 17th, subject to weather conditions.

Existing round piles are being removed and new ones installed, carried out by the barge, Walcon Wizard, accompanied by a small work boat.

Assistant Head of Assets and Infrastructure Sarah Cairns, said that the main work on Wall D work is still expected to start in the autumn but said that there will be some preparatory work prior to that, including during the main summer season.

She said: “Some smaller scale site work, such as isolation/diversion of underground pipes and cables and installation of signs for temporary traffic arrangements will be completed between May and September with minimal disruption. The main works contractor has access to the site for the heavy construction work from 30 September 2019 with the aim of completing pile driving and re-opening the road before Christmas 2019. Reinstatement of surfaces, quayside furniture, safety equipment and mains services would then be carried out in early 2020.”

The contract for the project around the ferry steps area has been awarded to Knights Brown Construction for an undisclosed sum.

Hotels at nearby Georgian Devonshire and Poultney Buildings had expressed concerns about noise and vibrations from the work on the 76 metre long section of wall. Planning consent for the project was agreed in December with £1.95 million set aside in the harbour budget for wall repairs. It has not been made public how much the current contract has cost.

A report at the time the work was commissioned said the section of wall, almost 60 years old, is now badly corroded with some of the fill material having been washed into the harbour.

The work will include putting in a line of sheet steel piles driven into the harbour bed directly in front of the existing wall. Some of the work will be carried out using hydraulic rams but is also expected to involve the use of pneumatic devices to hammer the piles in.

The ferry steps were closed in early 2016 because they were deemed unsafe after a short-term repair solution was not successful due to a lack of good metal. The steps were cordoned off at that time and have been closed since then.

A ramp from 4 berth to the pontoon was put in place to allow the Ferry Steps operations for rowing and pleasure vessels to continue.

“The ramp allows customers to embark on the vessels in the same positions they would have done if the steps were still open,” said Sarah Cairns.