Second year HND Civil Engineering students were given a rare glimpse of a tidal barrier construction project when they recently visited the site of the Ipswich tidal barrier on the River Orwell.
Overseen by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), this key infrastructure project is designed to protect people and property, prevent disruption and provide new opportunities by opening up land for development.
When it is completed in 2018, the new £58M tidal barrier will protect 2,000 homes from the devastating damage that can be caused following a tidal surge.
During the visit, the students gained invaluable insights into the construction and materials behind a project of this kind.
These include the 180-tonne 20m radial gate (shipped to the UK from the Netherlands), an operational building on the river bank and the key bearing piles (tubular driven to 50-60m and sheet piles to 20m) which allowed for the construction of the foundations for the gate.
The students also learned about the sustainability aspects of the project, including the re-use of riverbed materials. They saw how sound barriers have been used to minimise disruption to bird wildlife in the area.
Civil Engineering lecturer Anna Hare commented:
“This visit provided a unique opportunity for our HND students to see a major civil engineering project under construction. It gave the students insights into a different type of project they had not encountered before, and the distinct engineering challenges associated with tidal barriers.”