Innovative flood barrier wins ICE merit award

Innovative flood barrier wins ICE merit award

The £28 million NEC-procured tidal flood barrier in Ipswich, UK, has won an Institution of Civil Engineers’ (ICE) Exceptional Merit Award for technical excellence and innovation. The award will be presented at the ICE East of England annual general meeting in October.

The new barrier features a 20m wide, 200t rotating radial-sector gate across the mouth of the New Cut on the River Orwell. It is the final element of a £67 million programme to provide 1 in 300 flood protection for 1600 homes and 400 businesses over the next 100 years.

The Environment Agency let the barrier work to VBA, a joint venture of Volker Stevin, Boskalis Westminster and Atkins, under an NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract Option C (target contract with activity schedule) in November 2014. Arcadis and Jacobs were appointed NEC project manager and supervisor respectively.

Following a fundamental review of gate geometry and function, redesign of piled foundations and a drive to minimise waste off site, VBA was able to cut steel volumes by 30%, avoid 350 lorry movements and save nearly £2 million in costs. There were also no reportable accidents in more than 300,000 people-hours worked.

The project was successfully completed and put into operation in February 2019.

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