Work has begun to boost the resilience of the Dawlish sea wall that was breached in February, cutting off south-west England’s only rail connection for two months.
The £8m project, being project managed by engineering firm Mott MacDonald on behalf of Network Rail, will see a 340m stretch of low-level sea wall raised to adjoin the existing high level walkway and the lower coastal walkway replaced at high level.
In February, the path and railway line that runs above the sea wall were seriously damaged by massive waves. The walkway is the final section of footpath between Dawlish Warren and Teignmouth to be repaired following the damage.
James Whitelock, Mott MacDonald’s project director, said: “The main challenges we will face on this project are the weather and sea conditions. With winter fast approaching the aim is to complete the works in as short a time frame as possible, before any major winter storms.”
The section will be constructed using precast concrete L units and ballast backfill. All works will be undertaken from the seaward side of the railway using two jack-up barges.
Mott MacDonald provided project management services to Network Rail during the track reinstatement work that took place on the storm-damaged Dawlish railway line earlier this year. The new project is due for completion in 2015.