Newtons Cove Coast Protection Scheme


Courtesy of Black & Veatch Corporation

Using tried and tested techniques, B&V Water River & Coastal Management experts replaced an existing seawall and won an environmental award in the process.

The chilled rough waters of the English Channel have pounded and eroded the coast of England for millennia causing present day problems for towns and villages clustered close to the sea since ancient times. In the county of Dorset on the southern coast, the Nothe Peninsula forms part of a natural harbour for the town of Weymouth and it was eroding badly.

Black & Veatch was appointed to provide services as part of a reconstruction project to replace the existing seawall at Newtons Cove protecting the Nothe Peninsula from erosion. Through the action of waves and saltwater attack, the existing seawall had been eroded and locally destroyed and had deteriorated beyond the means or worth of normal repair. Collapse of the wall would have resulted in a major failure of the retained slope and consequential loss of property and local infrastructure.

The company was appointed to carry out the detailed design, produce the tender document and carry out the contract administration and supervision through to the completion of construction. The scheme incorporated two contiguous bored mini piled walls and soil nailing works to stabilise the upper slopes. Rock revetment was proposed to fill an exposed corner of the site, which enabled temporary access to the foreshore. The proposed works included the construction of 350 meters of re-curved seawall. By encasing the existing wall using tried and tested concrete mixes reinforced with polypropylene fibres, the design aimed to provide a durable structure capable of withstanding the harsh maritime environment.

Newtons Cove is part of a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, which aims to protect wildlife and geological sites within the area. At Newtons Cove the need to prevent damage to the geological outcrops dictated the method of construction and led to the design of a structure with a small a footprint a possible. Black & Veatch engineers paid particular attention to the most appropriate design options and construction methods. In design, a hard engineering defence that sympathetically reinforced an exposed sea cliff was implemented and during construction great care was taken to ensure the natural rock benches exposed on the foreshore remained unblemished.

Leading the Newtons Cove project allowed the Black & Veatch team to showcase its complex problem-solving expertise in rivers and coastal management. Furthermore by assembling the right people with the right technologies the company is Building a World of Difference in the area by protecting people and property from personal and economic loss due to the ravages of the sea. People are able to fish and swim off the seawall again and by allowing the re-opening of a footpath previously closed due to the unstable seawall, tourism to the area has increased. Not only was the Black & Veatch team able to successfully deliver a highly complex engineering project on time and within budget, the project was awarded the British Construction Industry's Environmental Project Award in 2004 for its environmental considerations.

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