Work continues to ensure Sunderland's piers are shipshape

City Council Cabinet Member, Councillor Amy Wilson, and Steve Conn, from contractors Esh.
City Council Cabinet Member, Councillor Amy Wilson, and Steve Conn, from contractors Esh.

Work is continuing on repairs to Sunderland’s piers and sea defences.

Repairs are progressing well at the New South Pier and have included recovering and reinstating its granite copings. Plus, significant works to its damaged concrete deck slab.

Extensive concrete repairs have been undertaken at the nearby Stonehill Wall, and at the Old North Pier where geotextile matting and rock armour have been put in.

The three structures are important sea defence assets to the Port of Sunderland and all suffered damage from heavy seas earlier this year. Sunderland City Council's Cabinet agreed plans for the repairs at its April meeting.

Coun Amy Wilson, the city council's portfolio holder for environment and Transport, said: "As with many other towns and cities along the East Coast, our sea defences took a battering during the winter and spring storms.

"The repairs have been about making sure the damage does not get any worse in the future. I, and others, are pleased with the progress we’ve been making on these repairs."

On the 240m/787ft long and 100-year-old New South Pier, 58m/190ft of granite coping was loosened in the storms and has now been reclaimed and re-instated.

The piers concrete decking was also damaged with 420 square metres/4,520 square feet of it lost.

Working with the city council’s coastal team, Durham-based contractors Esh Construction, part of Esh Group, have been re-laying the concrete decking with a series of new pours as they work along the pier.

Steve Conn, Esh’s divisional director, said: "It’s great to be working alongside the City Council on these vital works.

"Severe storms hit large parts of the coastal infrastructure earlier this year and time is critical to ensure repairs are completed prior to winter.

"The challenge of constructing or repairing any structure in a marine environment is a complex logistical operation that can be disrupted by the weather at any time of the year. It all requires careful and detailed planning."

The council allocated a budget of £3.1m towards all the works with costs met from the council's capital budget.

Mark Jackson, the council’s head of infrastructure and transportation, said: "March’s severe storms had a major impact on several of our city’s important coastal structures. These repairs are about preventing the damage from getting worse, reducing the risk of costs mounting up in the future, and are securing a major part of our city's infrastructure."

Damage to the pier in March 2018.

Damage to the pier in March 2018.

South Pier in better condition after repair work is carried out.

South Pier in better condition after repair work is carried out.