How Esh battled Storm Babet in Port of Sunderland repair


Esh Construction has completed critical repairs and upgrades to a sea wall impacted by storm damage and corrosion at the Port of Sunderland, valued at £1.4 million.

port with sea and rocks
Credit: Esh

Working with Sunderland City Council, the company strengthened, reinforced and upgraded the existing sea wall at the Hendon Foreshore site.

Damage posed a flood risk to the site and adjacent wastewater treatment works, with a temporary emergency repair taking place in December 2020 which involved the placement of approximately 1,000 cubic metres of rock armour.

Esh’s civil engineering division was appointed to relocate the rock armour seaward, with the remaining gap filled with stone to create a piling mat.

A total of 630 tonnes of sand was used in tonne dumpy bags to form a temporary retaining structure for the stone to protect it from the sea. This enabled 21 metres of 12-metre-long sheet piles to be installed as a permanent barrier in front of the existing wall.

And 130 metres of the sea wall was strengthened by being encased in a new one-metre-thick concrete skin. A reinforced concrete deck area was also constructed.

Esh’s divisional director, Steven Garrigan, said the site team had to overcome difficult tidal conditions, including Storm Babet: “During Autumn, we encountered a number of storm events with Storm Babet classified as a once-in-20–25-year storm event which caused significant damage to the working area and pushed completion of finishing works on the project into the winter period.

“The perseverance of the project team to bring the scheme to completion is testament to the hard work of all involved and marks another successful project within the Port of Sunderland.”

Cabinet member, councillor Kevin Johnston, added: “The Port of Sunderland is a key part of our city’s infrastructure and these important works on the sea defences are about the long-term protection of the port and all its assets.

“There are complex and unique engineering and construction challenges when updating sea defences and I would like to thank council engineering colleagues, the port and Esh for all their hard work.

“Maintaining, investing and protecting the city’s infrastructure are always priorities for us as a City Council.”

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