Boston barrier gets go-ahead

Boston Barrier looking upstream past Haven flood defences
Industry Database

The UK Environment Agency’s Boston Barrier which is designed to protect more than 14,000 properties from tidal flooding has been given the green light by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The tidal barrier will feature a gate across the River Witham and it will be supplemented by raised embankments along the river banks.

This major investment will see the moveable gate of the tidal barrier located in the centre of the river supported from fixed piers extending to each bank of the River Witham. A new control building to operate the barrier will be built on the adjacent river bank and new flood defence walls will be constructed along both  banks The scheme also includes a replacement gate across the entrance to the existing Port of Boston wet dock.

The Secretary of State has now approved the Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) to grant powers to construct and operate the barrier, and work is set to begin in January 2018. The barrier will make Boston one of the best protected areas from flooding outside of London.

The Environment Minister Therese Coffey said, “Not only is this fantastic news for the 14,000 home and business owners who will be better protected from flooding but Boston’s new state of the art defences will help attract investment, benefiting the wider area.”

The tidal gate will be rounded on one side and flat on the other and when open it will sit in a matching fitting on the river bed. When being raised the curved section will slide upwards in its river bed channel under the control of two hydraulic rams and sit vertically across the river with the curved side to seaward. A site for the barrier above the dock entrance was chosen to reduce the impact on river traffic into the dock. The new gate across the entrance to the dock at Boston will be constructed in concrete and will slide across the entrance to create a flood barrier.

Following approval for the scheme’s full business case from HM Treasury last week, the contract for the project has been awarded to a joint venture between Bam Nuttall and Mott MacDonald who have a long history of successfully completing complex projects on time. Completion of the project is scheduled for early in 2019.

Boston, located on The Wash, has a long history of tidal flooding. The Witham flooded in 1953, again in 1978, and more recently during the tidal surge on 5 December 2013 when defences were over-topped, damaged or breached. This affected the town extensively, with more than 800 properties flooded across 55 streets.

By Dag Pike

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