Bad weather delays Sunderland pier work

Roker Pier, which has been temporarily closed while urgent work is carried out.

Roker Pier, which has been temporarily closed while urgent work is carried out.

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BAD weather has held up repair work on Sunderland’s historic pier for another month.

The 100-year-old Roker Pier was closed in July after taking a battering in the unseasonal stormy weather – taking it out of action for the whole of the busy summer holiday season.

The damage also held up the installation of the new landmark pier gates, part of sweeping revamp plans for the seafront.

Council chiefs had hoped to see repair work finished on the pier last month, but further bad weather has delayed the works for another few weeks.

John Kelly, the councillor responsible for culture in Sunderland, said: “As people from across the city and region will know, the pier is regularly closed when there are northerly winds and a heavy swell, which can happen at any time of the year.

“Heavy seas have disrupted some of the repair works and we’re anticipating that it will be another three to four weeks until the pier reopens.

“This is also allowing us time to install the new pier gates, which have been made by Washington firm Architectural Metalworkers.

“As I said back in August, we’re all going to have to be patient whilst these essential repairs are undertaken and works on the new gates are completed.”

Roker Pier was closed to the public on July 21 due to northerly winds causing rough sea conditions.

A series of inspections after the storms identified damage to the pier decking and that railings had been torn away making it unsafe for the public.

Other essential structural repairs, involving the removal, refurbishing and refitting of more than 40 metres of the pier wall were also identified.

Repair work started on August 15.

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Roker Pier factfile

Roker Pier took 18 years to build and opened in 1903.

Sunderland City Council began essential maintenance work earlier this year ahead of the installation of the new pier gates.

The severe weather then caused further damage, necessitating more work.

Each section of the upper wall, removed for repair and refurbishment, weighs between two and five tonnes.

It had been hoped the new gates would already be in place.

Fiona Heron’s “Lightwave” design for the new gates, which features polished steel and glass, was chosen after a public consultation in 2010.

Echo readers helped choose the winning design by picking their favourite from a choice of four, and submitting their comments on each.