First-year civil engineering students have been given a close-up look at the £31million defences being built in Shoreham.
The Shoreham Adur tidal walls scheme will protect residents against floods and future sea level rises.
The University of Brighton students, led by Dr Friederike Günzel, were taken on a tour by Mackley, which is carrying out the scheme on behalf of the Environment Agency, Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, Adur District Council and West Sussex County Council.
The visit was part of the students’ civil engineering practice module, giving them the chance to examine sections of the scheme at close quarters following a briefing.
Dr Gunzel, senior lecturer in the university’s school of environment and technology, said: “We saw installed sheet pile walls, already partly encased in concrete, and were quite amazed by the effort that was taken to improve the aesthetics of these walls with brick and flint facing.
“Further along the river, the concrete wall is much lower, so residents still can see the river from their windows – this section will be fitted with flood glass panels. The thickness of these panels is quite impressive.
“Overall, it was an extremely interesting and informative site visit and the students enjoyed it, despite the cold weather.”
The new defences at the mouth of the River Adur include steel sheet piling, concrete walls, flood glass and earth embankments.
When completed, the scheme is expected to significantly reduce flood risk to more than 2,300 properties in Shoreham and Lancing, as well as protecting roads, the railway line and Shoreham Airport.
Mackley, which is based in Small Dole, is continuing to strengthen its links with the university.
Dave Knapp, business development manager at Mackley, explained: “Several years ago, I was invited to join the local Industrial Advisory Board, which is based at the University of Sussex.
“The board’s purpose is to forge links and partnerships between the university and business and industry, to both enhance students’ learning experience and make an important contribution to their successful development.
“In the period since November 2015, we’ve hosted four visits to our sites and the feedback from students and lecturers suggests these visits are invaluable in terms of broadening the students’ real-life civil engineering experience.”
The tidal walls scheme is separated into ten lengths of the riverbank and the defences vary in each, as they have different characteristics and are subject to different pressures and potential flood impacts.