Port of Sunderland to get 27,000 tonnes of rock armour as sea defences get a facelift

Plans for major improvements to sea defences at the Port of Sunderland will come under the microscope this month,

Tuesday, 7th September 2021, 2:57 pm

Nearly 27,000 tonnes of rock amour will be ordered after Sunderland City Council prepared a tender for the works and allocated a contingency budget of £2.4million.

The works will create more than 390 metres of new rock walls to update and improve the port's Stonehill Wall and Hendon Foreshore Barrier sea defences.Repairs to decking at the Stonehill Wall sea defences that were damaged in the winter and spring storms of 2018 have already been completed. It now requires 18,900 tonnes of rock for its 215m (645ft) retaining wall. The rocks will be between one to three tonnes and six to ten tonnes in weight.

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Storm damage at the Stonehill Wall in 2018

Works for the Hendon Foreshore Barrier, which helps protect the Northumbrian Water treatment works, require a further 8,000 tonnes of rock armour. The rocks will be between three and six tonnes in weight.

The rock will be delivered by ship or barge to the Port of Sunderland and transported to the works areas for land-based placement, so the work will have a smaller carbon footprint than if the cargo was brought in by truck.

Cabinet Member for Dynamic City, Coun Kevin Johnston said the work was import to protect the long-term viability of the port: "Both Stonehill Wall and the Hendon Foreshore Barrier help protect vital infrastructure and businesses within the Port of Sunderland,” he said."By maintaining and improving the functionality of these structures we're investing in key parts of our city's infrastructure. This updating and investing in our city's assets and infrastructure are always priorities for us as a City Council.

"I shall be recommending to my Cabinet colleagues that we progress the works here at the port."

Subject to next week's decision, rock deliveries could begin over the winter for placement works in spring 2022 when weather and sea conditions are generally calmer.Works on the port's New South Pier have also been completed following damage in 2018. Last year these works were project winners at the Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE) North East Robert Stephenson Awards 2020.

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