Ipswich Flood Barrier flies the flag for national engineering campaign

A tidal barrier across the river Orwell at Ipswich has become the latest addition to a national campaign to promote the benefits of civil engineering.

Andrew Usborne, Environment Agency Project Manager and ICE Regional Director Glen Owen (in yellow jackets) with teams from the contractors VBA, (a joint venture between VolkerStevin, Boskalis Westminster and Atkins).
Andrew Usborne, Environment Agency Project Manager and ICE Regional Director Glen Owen (in yellow jackets) with teams from the contractors VBA, (a joint venture between VolkerStevin, Boskalis Westminster and Atkins).

Called This is Civil Engineering the campaign, launched by Institution of Civil Engineers, places banners on infrastructure projects across the UK telling the public what civil engineering is about. It makes clear the link between the work taking place and benefits to the community and businesses and provides links to a dedicated website.

At the New Cut of the River Orwell a banner was unveiled by Environment Agency Project Manager Andrew Usborne and ICE East of England Regional Director Glen Owen. It joins a host of other projects across the country.

Andrew said "The Ipswich Tidal Barrier is a vital piece of infrastructure that will significantly reduce the risk of flooding to central Ipswich. The team are pleased to be able to work closely with the Institution in promoting the skills and abilities of civil engineers to deliver infrastructure projects that benefit the whole community."

The barrier forms part of the £58 million Ipswich Flood Defence scheme, a three year project to upgrade Ipswich's flood defences. Similar to the Thames Barrier (though much smaller), the 20 metre wide gate will be raised during periods of extreme high tides to hold back the North Sea and, with the help of the sheet piling, keep Ipswich dry.

When finished, the project will reduce the risk of flooding to 1,608 homes and 422 businesses and support key infrastructure such as the fire station and council buildings. Everything upstream of the barrier will be protected against a tidal surge like the one experienced in 1953 and, more recently, in 2013.

The scheme included building a special tunnel to house two 132 kV cables, which replaced cables installed in the 1950's. The cables were at a high risk of damage from vibration caused by the construction work.

The cables have been diverted through a tunnel running underneath the Wet Dock Lock. The 2.1m diameter tunnel is 42 metres long, with 22m deep shafts on the east and west side of the Wet Dock Lock, with 8.2 and 6m diameters respectively.

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