4th July 2023

Dawlish sea wall reopens following all-important coastal defence upgrade work

Community Piling

On the 25th May 2023, our Specialist Piling team had the honour of attending the opening of the second section of the Dawlish sea wall, following our involvement in delivering this important project.

In 2014, a part of the sea wall and railway line collapsed during storms. To help safeguard the crucial railway link connecting the Southwest to the rest of the UK and avoid similar damage in the future. An investment of £80 million was made.

Our Specialist Piling team played a vital role in the project. They worked in partnership with BAM Nuttall and Network Rail, to support the all-important coastal defence upgrade work.

This included the installation of piles for various structures along the seafront and station from Coastguards to Colonnade.

During the first phase, Van Elle installed 47 No 660mm temporary cased bored cast-in-place piles to depths of 11.6m.

Due to restricted access caused by the nearby breakwater wall, the 17-tonne Klemm 709 3G piling rig was utilised. The rig was dismantled and rebuilt on the beach due to harsh ground conditions, adverse weather, and logistical challenges.

A further two phases were carried out for the new promenade and box culvert. This required the installation of 93 additional piles ranging from 15m to 22.1m in depth.

The Klemm 709 3G was again dismantled to gain entry through the 2.4m headroom. For the deeper 22.1m piles, the 35t Hutte HBR207 was mobilised by vessel sailed from Teignmouth. It was then unloaded at low tide on the beach.

During the final phase of our work carried out over the 2022 Christmas blockade. We installed 8No landward piles using our Soilmec STM20 Lorry Mount Rig with temporary casings and bored in cast place piles to depths of 19m.

We also permanently cased 8 No seaward piles with 660mm bored cast-in-place piles. This was to depths up to 19m, using the Klemm 7093G and lifting the rig in situ with a 200-tonne crane.

Dave Warner, Director of of Specialist Piling & Screwfast said: “We were absolutely delighted to attend the opening of the new section of the sea wall and promenade. Our involvement in the vital and historic scheme will provide a resilient railway for generations to come. It will safeguard the line and bring an economic boost to the local economy and the wider Southwest.

“We are proud of the Van Elle team who have done an outstanding job. They demonstrated high levels of professionalism and commitment during all phases of the project.”

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