Work has started on the £100M Boston tidal flood defence scheme - which will protect 14,000 Lincolnshire properties.
Work is already underway to dredge more than 5,000m³ of silt from the Boston Haven, and over the next few months 2,000t of sheet steel piles will be put in place to strengthen the riverbanks in preparation for the barrier.
The scheme will feature a moveable gate across the River Witham together with a new control building to operate the barrier, new flood defence walls on both banks and a replacement gate across the entrance to the existing Port of Boston wet dock.
The barrier’s 25m wide hydraulic-powered gate, when not in use, will lay flat on the riverbed out of sight, but will be raised to close off the River Witham when flooding is expected, preventing high tides on the North Sea from raising river levels in the town.
Following approval for the scheme’s full business case last month, the contract for the project was awarded to a Bam Nuttall and Mott MacDonald joint venture (BMMJV).
The Environment Agency’s executive director of operations Toby Willison said: “This state-of-the-art defence will help protect Boston’s communities and businesses from the kind of flooding the town experienced in December 2013.”
Boston has a long history of tidal flooding, most recently in December 2013 when more than 800 properties flooded across 55 streets. Flooding also occurred in 1953 and 1978.
Floods Minister Thérèse Coffey added: “The Boston Barrier is part of our plan to invest £229M over the next four years to make sure the risk of flooding to 49,000 homes and businesses in Lincolnshire is significantly reduced.”
It is expected that works will be complete by the end of 2020, and will make Boston one of the best-protected areas from tidal flooding outside of London.