The first phase of the Shoreham Adur Tidal Walls scheme has begun, the Environment Agency have announced.
Work has started on the east bank of the river Adur, north of the railway line, where steel sheet pile walls, concrete defences and an earth embankment are being constructed.
Contractors Team Van Oord have been employed by the Environment Agency to carry out the construction work following a tendering process.
David Robinson, Environment Agency Operations Manager, said: “I am delighted that work is now underway and I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Shoreham and Lancing communities for their invaluable feedback and support throughout the design, consultation and planning processes.
“When the whole project is complete in 2018, the scheme will reduce the tidal flood risk to thousands of homes and a significant number of commercial properties in the area, as well as protecting important local infrastructure such as the road network, railway line and Shoreham Airport.”
“In order to significantly improve the current aging flood defences, unavoidably with a project of this scale there may be some alternative traffic routes in place and some construction noise whilst essential work takes place.
“We always aim to keep any disruption to a minimum and we thank the community in advance for their ongoing support.”
Addressing the issue of concern over responsibility for the defences once the work is complete, he said: “We remain in discussion with landowners and directly affected parties to advise them of their riparian owner responsibilities.”
The Shoreham Adur Tidal Walls scheme has been developed in partnership with West Sussex County Council, Adur District Council and the Coast to Capital LEP.
Councillor Brian Boggis, Executive Member for Regeneration at Adur District Council, said: “Flooding has been a major issue for many parts of the UK over the last year.
“Given our coastal location alongside the River Adur, it’s important to take a proactive stance to improve our flood defences.
“It’s great to see this project moving forward to protect homes, businesses, agricultural land and public open spaces in Shoreham.”
John O’Brien, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “This is a necessary upgrade which will reduce flood risk and protect thousands of residents in Shoreham-By-Sea.
“Because of the nature and location of the construction work, we are anticipating disruption for traffic on the road network later this year.”
He said that details about any disruption would be released soon.
Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “As the LEP which covers Shoreham we have invested £6 million into this important scheme because it reinforces flood defences to reduce the risk of flooding and will ultimately unlock land for the future development of homes and employment space which will lead to the creation of new jobs.”
To keep informed of progress on the scheme, visit the Shoreham Adur Tidal Walls Scheme website
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