Rock at the port

Stonehill Wall

Nearly 27,000 tonnes of rock amour looks set to be ordered for updates to sea defences at Port of Sunderland.

Sunderland City Council has prepared a tender for the works and allocated a contingency budget of £2.4m.

The works will create new rock revetment walls to update and improve the port's Stonehill Wall and Hendon Foreshore Barrier sea defences. Altogether, the new rock armour revetments will be more than 1,200ft (390 metres) long.

The City Council's Cabinet is examining an outline of the revetment works when it meets on Tuesday 14 September.

Cabinet Member for Dynamic City, Councillor Kevin Johnston said: "Both Stonehill Wall and the Hendon Foreshore Barrier help protect vital infrastructure and businesses within Port of Sunderland.

"By maintaining and improving the functionality of these structures we're investing in key parts of our city's infrastructure. This updating and investing in our city's assets and infrastructure are always priorities for us as a City Council.

"I shall be recommending to my Cabinet colleagues that we progress the works here at the port."

Repairs to decking at the Stonehill Wall sea defences that were damaged in the winter and spring storms of 2018 have already been completed. It now requires 18,900 tonnes of rock for its 215m (645ft) long updated revetment. The rocks will be between one to three tonnes and six to ten tonnes in weight.

Works for Hendon Foreshore Barrier, which helps protect the Northumbrian Water treatment works, require 8,000 tonnes of rock armour for its 175m (574ft) long revetment. The rocks will be between three and six tonnes in weight.

As part of the tender, it is being outlined how the rock will be delivered by ship or barge to Port of Sunderland and transported to the works areas for land-based placement. Bringing rock to the port by sea has a lower carbon footprint than hundreds of HGV journeys from UK quarries and is less disruptive. 

Subject to next week's Cabinet decision, rock deliveries could begin over the winter for placement works in spring 2022 when weather and sea conditions are generally calmer.

Works on the port's New South Pier have also been completed following damage in 2018. Last year these works were project winners at the Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE) North East Robert Stephenson Awards 2020.

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