Work continues at pace on Port of Tilbury flood defences

Construction work is well underway on £34m Port of Tilbury flood defence project.

Construction work is well underway on the £34m Port of Tilbury flood defence project, with a number of important milestones already reached. 

The £34m scheme of national importance, to install new dual function lock gates on the Thames Estuary in Tilbury, is a project between the Environment Agency and the Port of Tilbury that will better protect thousands of homes and businesses in the local area from flooding.

The project will see three pairs of lock gates at the entrance lock to the port replaced. Each gate is approximately 15m tall and 19m wide; the equivalent approximately of three double decker buses high and the length of a cricket pitch wide. 

The outer gates will be raised in height and tie into the adjacent flood walls so that they perform the dual function of a navigational and flood risk management asset.

Since work started in January 2021 the main highlights include:

  • The locating and identification of multiple electric cables to be diverted around the works areas;
  • Installation and testing of 2 x 36m long test piles to inform the foundation design for the new outer gate ram pits;
  • Construction of the replacement control buildings foundation slabs;
  • A rolling programme of refurbishments of the sluices which control water levels between the gates.

Fabrication of the new middle and inner gates is underway in Holland, and detailed design work is continuing on the new gate control systems.

John Curtin, Environment Agency executive director for local operations said: “It has been great to have visited the construction site at Tilbury Port and to meet the team delivering this nationally important collaborative project. It is complex project, involving construction activities around the busy port entrance - but I’ve been really impressed by the professional approach of the joint team with the ongoing support of Tilbury Port staff as we make important strides to better protect over 2,500 properties from flooding.”

Helena Henao-Fernandez, Environment Agency team 2100 deputy programme director, said: “The Tilbury Dual Function Lock Gates Project is a perfect example of collaborative working between different organisations to tackle the effects of climate change. By working together, we are providing better protection against the risk of flooding to the local communities as well as delivering a suite of wider outcomes and benefits.”

Paul Dale, Port of Tilbury’s asset & site director said: “We are pleased that the construction work for this important project is well underway. It is vitally important that we get this new engineering solution in place to provide flood defences for homes and businesses for the future. It is great to welcome the EA team to the port today for an overview of the progress of the project so far.”

Work started in January 2021 and is expected to last for 18 months with the new lock gates planned for installation in late 2021 / early 2022. Planning for this project has been underway with the Environment Agency and the Port of Tilbury for several years. With total scheme costs of around £34m, the Port of Tilbury London Ltd (PoTLL) is providing a multi-million-pound contribution to the project and will take responsibility for operation and maintenance of the new dual function structure. Funding has also been secured from the Anglian (Eastern) Regional Flood and Coastal Committee.

The Environment Agency’s Thames Estuary Asset Management 2100 Programme (TEAM2100) will deliver the works in partnership with a number of contractors including Jacobs and Balfour Beatty.

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