In December 2017, VolkerGround Engineering was awarded a c.£1m contract by VBA, a joint venture between VolkerStevin, Boskalis Westminster and SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business, to install tubular and sheet piles as part of a coastal protection project along the Fylde coast.
The Fairhaven to Church Scar coastal protection scheme involved the replacement of the sea defence walls, as the existing coastal defences were time expired and had been failing. The previous concrete defences were built in the 1890’s and had been undergoing emergency repairs every year to prevent a major breach. VolkerGround Engineering completed the works at Fairhaven, Church Scar and Granny’s Bay during three phases, which lasted approximately 19 months.
Our team started by constructing the combi wall, consisting of 1,884 linear metes of 610mm diameter tubes and AZ12-770 sheet piles, in a jagged line formation, using a Movax SG-75 V, assisted by a 750kN high frequency vibratory hammer. As the works took place within the tidal zone, VolkerGround Engineering worked closely with VBA to mitigate the associated risks and phased the piling works to allow for the incoming and outgoing tides. Trenches were dug out and bunded to stop the working areas from flooding during piling operations.
During phase one, the team constructed a frame and welded the infill piles together, before they were needed on the beach. These piles were then pitched as panels above the waterline to overcome the harsh tidal environment.
Despite challenging ground conditions and periods of high winds, that occassionally brought works to a halt, the project was delivered on time because of the team’s flexible approach to the programme of work. VBA completed the final section of the sea defence works five months ahead of schedule, enabling the opening of the promenade in July 2020. The completed scheme now mitigates the impact of extreme weather and climate change by protecting 2,400 residential properties from coastal erosion and flooding, and has already been praised by local residents and visitors alike.