Civil engineering, construction and building

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Shoreham Adir Tidal Wall Scheme visit

A group of students visited the Shoreham Adur Tidal Walls Scheme as part of the Civil Engineering Practice module. We saw sections of the £31m flood defence scheme carried out by Mackley, working as part of Team Van Oord, to improve the flood defences at along the mouth of river Adur at Shoreham. The scheme addresses the current flood risk, and future risk as sea levels rise.

The visit started with some explanations and short videos at Mackley’s Visitor Centre at Shoreham. We then walked along a narrow footpath along the river bank where the vegetation has already been cleared off, ready for installation of sheet pile walls early next year (Pic 1). We saw installed sheet pile walls, already partly encased in concrete (Pic 2), and were quite amazed by the effort that was taken to improve the aesthetics of these walls with brick and flint facing (Pic 3).

We looked at sheet piles being prepared with steel studs for the concrete encasing (Pic 4) and the reinforcement for the concrete (Pic 5). We also saw the length of the sheet piles (Pic 6) and the gripping tool used to install them (Pic 7).

Further along the river, the concrete wall is much lower, so local residents still can see the river from their windows – this section will be fitted with flood glass panels (Pic 8). The thickness of these panels is quite impressive (Pic 9); they consist of three glass sheets and will still give protection if one of them gets damaged, e.g. by floating debris in the water. Access ramps to the marina have also been raised (Pic 10). Access to local residents’ homes is provided by flood gates where necessary (Pic 11).

Overall, is was an extremely interesting and informative site visit, and the students enjoyed it despite the cold weather. Many thanks to David, Terry and Angela from Mackley for being so welcoming! For further information please visit

Friederike Gunzel • December 15, 2017

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