Colne Barrier and Gate refurbishment

The tidal barrier across the river Colne protects the town of Wivenhoe, and surrounding countryside, from flooding.

Frank Leonforte and Farai Marume (Interserve), unveil a banner at the Colne Barrier, Others as file names.
Frank Leonforte and Farai Marume (Interserve), unveil a banner at the Colne Barrier, Others as file names.
  • Updated: 10 October, 2016

Project facts

Project team:

  • Environment Agency
  • Atkins
  • Interserve Construction Ltd



Completed by:

29 April 2016


What will the project deliver?

The barrier was built in 1992 and was designed to last for 50 years with the exception of the mechanical and electrical components which have a shorter life of around 20 years (hence the need for this maintenance work).

The barrier protects 2,092 residential properties in Whivenhoe, parts of Colchester and Rowhedge from flooding. In total, it protects more than £80million worth of property from flood risk.

This work ensures the barrier will continue to operate efficiently for years to come.

Local impact

Before the barrier was built, riverside homes had concrete walls in front of them with slots, where emergency wooden slats could be inserted to keep water out. The refurbishment of the barrier means that more sophisticated protection it offers has been extended for years to come.

Interesting facts

  • The barrier is 130m wide with a navigation opening of 30m
  • The design means that the tidal flow of the river is unchanged except when the barrier is closed
  • On average the barrier is closed 40 times a year
  • Closure of the main gates takes 7 minutes and the whole barrier about 10 minutes
  • Each main gate weighs 135t on average
  • The structure has enough capacity to cope with water levels half a metre higher than they are now

Project images

Aerial view of Colne Barrier
Aerial view of Colne Barrier
The mitre gate out of the water
The mitre gate out of the water
The radial gates
The radial gates

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