PLANS for a £1.4 million coastal protection scheme for part of Bridlington’s seafront will involve hundreds of tons of rock armour defences to stop it being a danger.
The Environment Agency has already approved the scheme and subject to East Riding of Yorkshire Council giving engineers’ plans the approval, work could start by autumn this year and be completed by next March – or sooner depending on the weather.
Engineers stress the wall is not in immediate danger of collapse, but work is needed to ensure it remains stable and to safeguard it for the future.
A 100 metre stretch of the 140-year-old Royal Prince’s Parade sea wall has been undermined in parts by the sea and falling beach levels and is in danger of becoming unstable.
It has led to some of the original foundations which were laid on sand and gravel now being as little as two or three feet under the sand.
The most at risk area is where the wall joins the harbour’s North pier corner which has been seriously damaged in the past by the scouring effect of conflicting wave patterns.
East Riding of Yorkshire Council engineers plan to stop the damage by considerably strengthening and protecting the North Pier junction and a 100 metre stretch of the Prince’s Parade sea wall from there to a point in front of The Pavilion Bar.
Steel piling will be hammered into the clay to underpin the wall and be covered by thousands of tons of Norwegian rock armour, with each piece weighing between six and 10 tons, which will be brought in by sea.
The rocks will be piled up and then fanned out along a 25 metre stretch of the North Pier junction.
The rest of the sea wall will have a rock armour platform with a sloping frontage on to the beach and be of similar appearance to existing defences at Hornsea and Withernsea.
Mike Ball, the council’s principal engineer who has a responsibility for flood risk management including coastal erosion and land drainage, said: “Because parts of the wall are in such a state we need to get in there as soon as possible.”
He explained how the rock armour, sourced in Norway, would be “deliberately placed” and not just tipped.
It has to be carefully put in position to ensure its profile includes a pattern of spaces to dissipate the force of the waves, rather than present a solid wall for them to batter and be reflected back.
The rock would be brought in one delivery by a massive barge, the size of a football pitch, which will anchor about a mile off shore.
“It will be ferried in down a marked out area, not unlike swimming lanes in a pool, by a craft similar to a landing craft, which will come in at high tide to be able to get as near to the site as possible. The rocks will then be lifted into place by a claw grab crane,” said Mr Ball.
The scheme could also see a new landing platform with sloped access down to the beach near Garrison Square and the possible replacement of the curved stone steps down from there to the North pier.
The construction will cause some disruption near the site and to Bridlington’s fishermen.
Mr Ball said: “Because of the tide, there will be a need for heavy equipment to move on and off the beach at high tide.
“I cannot say until we have appointed a contractor who can have a look at it exactly what that disruption will be, but that is why we are doing this work during the off season period.
“There could be some noise when steel piling is put in place, but this will be by hydraulic hammer, not a drop hammer which can be very noisy, and access to the beach down the steps near Garrison Square, which we will be repairing, will not be possible.”
He was unable to say at this stage if access to the beach elsewhere around the overall site would be affected.
The use of a “ferrying lane” from the rock barge to the shore is expected to cause some disruption to Bridlington’s shell fishing fleet.
Mr Ball said: “It will have to be sealed off for fishermen who may normally put their pots down in that area and we will have a fisheries liaison officer on the team.”