Harbour wall works at Weymouth are now expected to continue until February.

The ‘wall D’ works, to protect the quay, started in September with an original target of finishing by Christmas.

Saturday working was then introduced from the second week of November to try and make up for lost time with an announcement that the disruption might continue until the New Year – but now councillors have been told it could be the first, or second week of February until contractors leave the site.

Just under £2million has been allocated to strengthen the 76-metre long wall and another section near Nelson’s Wharf. It also included the demolition of a former ice cream kiosk and changes to the rowing ferry steps.

Dorset Council’s harbours committee was told on Wednesday that harder and more difficult ground than anticipated, together with bad weather and an underwater obstruction, had taken its toll of the project timeline.

It was announced last month that contractors Knights Brown would have to start working on Saturdays to keep on schedule so it could all be finished by Christmas.

Project engineer Matthew Penny said he was now hoping for the project to be completed during the first or second week of February although heavy engineering work should be ending earlier.

Said Mr Penny in a report to the committee: “The ground conditions have been tough. The contractor has noticed the ground stiffness increase as they’ve piled further west, meaning that the percussive piling periods are longer.”

The road at Custom House Quay near the Pavilion will remain closed with a diversion in place.

Further work may be needed later to modify the pontoons which were removed from the wall at the start of the project.

Said Peter Christie, project engineer: “I would like to thank residents and businesses for bearing with us during these vital works to maintain Weymouth’s historic harbour.

“The delay is largely due to the pile driving activity, a few days poor weather stopping lifts with the crane, and a below bed level obstruction which we are investigating. Unfortunately this obstruction is at the second to last pile, which limits our ability to work around it.”

“We are sorry for any inconvenience caused. We will of course do everything possible to reduce disruption. We are regularly updating residents and businesses near the harbour and doing all we can.”