Lowestoft sea wall protection work is progressing well

Steel piling is being placed in front of the old flint sea wall at Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher

Steel piling is being placed in front of the old flint sea wall at Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher

Work is under way on scheme to protect a Lowestoft sea wall that had been at risk of breaking up because of erosion.

As these photographs show, engineers are bolstering the foundations of the vulnerable 170m stretch of flint sea wall at Lowestoft South Beach between the South Pier and Claremont Pier.

As part of the £400,000 Waveney District Council project, 295 sheet-metal panels are being driven into place by excavators which are equipped with a powerful vibrating piling hammer.

It is hoped the piling will be finished by today and that, weather permitting, work will start on the next stage – which involves connecting the sea wall to the sheet panels using concrete slabs.

Once the concrete is put in place, sand will then be placed over the protective foundations.

David Wheeler, project manager at Waveney District Council, said the project had progressed so well since work got under way in January, that it could be completed well within its three-month schedule.

He said: 'It is due to end at the end of March, but we are hoping to be away in a couple of weeks before then.

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'So far we are ahead of schedule.'

Mr Wheeler said the work was very important from a safety perspective.

'If nothing was done then the foundations of the sea wall would be exposed by erosion,' he said.

'The sea would then leach material out of the wall ultimately leading to part of the promenade going with it.'

During the work, the surrounding beach area has been closed to the public, along with parts of the promenade. The ramps leading down to the beach within the construction site area will also be temporarily closed.

The Triton statue on The Esplanade, which dates from 1849, has also been covered with temporary scaffolding to ensure it is not damaged by the vibrations caused by the piling work.

In October, Waveney's development control committee approved the £400,000 project after it had been passed by the council's cabinet. A further £40,000 will also be spent improving adjacent groynes by the sea wall.

That work could be carried out after the summer season and involve divers.

A Waveney District Council spokesman said: 'We'd like to thank the public for their patience and co-operation during the works. We'd also like to warn people not to cross site barriers and enter the working area, including the sea immediately in front of the works. By doing so they would place themselves at risk of serious injury.'