A first stage of updates to sea defences at the Port of Sunderland are completed.
The £975,000 of repair and improvement works at the Stonehill Wall have paused for a winter break and are due to resume again in March 2021. These works form part of the City Council’s asset management programme that helps to protect the port and surrounding areas.
Stonehill was one of several city coastal structures damaged by the severe storms of 2018. As emergency and further repair works were completed on the wall and nearby New South Pier and Old North Pier in 2018, longer-term plans were being drawn-up.
These longer-term works for Stonehill began this summer and include a 200m (600ft) reinforced concrete deck and wavewall, new concrete copings, and a new access ramp to the foreshore. The first phase of works has included the construction of the southern section of the concrete deck and wave walls.
Stonehill is a coastal defence structure that comprises a five metre (16ft) concrete retaining wall and dates back to the early 1900s. It was constructed as part of the New South Pier development as the port's grew and expanded. It is an integral part of the Sunderland sea defence frontage that protects the port, its businesses and infrastructure, and the new Enterprise Zone development on the East Shore.
Sunderland City Council's Cabinet Member for Dynamic City, Councillor Rebecca Atkinson said: "Unless you're on the Port Estate or at sea, these defences at the Stonehill Wall are not fully visible to city residents.
"By undertaking these works, we're helping to protect one of our city's key assets - Port of Sunderland. Updating and investing in our assets and infrastructure are always among this City Council's key priorities and that's is what we are doing here with these updates to the seawall."
Phase Two works in 2021 will see copings and the southern ramp constructed.
Following the 2018 storms, the council completed a series of stabilisation works to the piers and sea defences while city engineers undertook a series of studies to look at more long-term updates.
The first phase of these longer sea defence works has now been completed at Stonehill but because of weather and sea conditions the works must now take a winter break.
In addition to the Stonehill works, further strengthening at the Hendon Foreshore Barrier is being prepared and, following a series of studies, plans for the Old North Pier are being drawn-up.
In October 2020, the emergency works at the Port of Sunderland were project winners at the Institution of Civil Engineering (ICE) North East Robert Stephenson Awards 2020.