Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is seeking contractors to develop a solution to secure the future of a key coastal footpath.
Consultants engaged by the council identified that the Blackhead Path is at risk of collapse which lead to its closure in August and the current pre-qualification process is aimed at identifying tenderers to repair the route.
The council warned at the time that the path may not be reopened until late 2019 at the earliest.
A report issued at the time of the path’s closure said: “Further visual observations of the retaining wall show that the wall is moving towards the sea and also rotating about its vertical axis. The continued movement and visual observations would indicate that the retaining wall is in a state of failure most likely in modes known as sliding and overturning/bearing failure.The fact that the movement is increasing over a shorter period of time would further suggest that the retaining wall is approaching complete failure.”
Reports show that 300mm of movement were experience by the wall in 2017 and this increased to 170mm in August with further movement experienced since.
The council has said that coastal erosion and slope movements have caused damage to the existing Blackhead Path and the retaining structures located at the toe of the slope. In addition, rock falls have damaged handrailing and the path network around the cliff.
The council is targeting an April 2019 start date for the remedial work to achieve its December 2019 reopening date for the path.