PLANS TO REPAIR BRI­TAIN’S LONG­EST BREAK­WA­TER BE­ING DRAWN UP

Bangor Mail - - News - Gareth Wil­liams

HOLY­HEAD’S port could be­come un­us­able if ac­tion is not taken to repair its break­wa­ter.

The struc­ture, which is 1.7 miles long and took 28 years to build, is grad­u­ally erod­ing.

But if it is not re­paired, the port could be closed within the next 15 years.

Stena Ports has been car­ry­ing out day to day main­te­nance of the struc­ture, but the costs of that are run­ning at around £150,000 a year.

The mound of rub­ble is be­ing worn away by waves, and ex­perts be­lieve it could be breached within 15 years.

Plans to repair the break­wa­ter – the long­est in Bri­tain – are now be­ing drawn up.

A plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion states: “The break­wa­ter forms part of the es­sen­tial in­fra­struc­ture for the op­er­a­tion of the Port, pro­vid­ing shel­ter from a more ex­treme wave cli­mate to the berthing fer­ries and other ves­sels.

“With­out the break­wa­ter it is likely that the wave con­di­tions would in­crease to the point that the op­er­a­tion of the fer­ries is no longer vi­able, re­sult­ing in the clo­sure of the port and the loss of the in­ter­na­tional link to Ire­land for Wales and Eng­land.”

In 2017, with Welsh Gov­ern­ment and Stena Line Ports sup­port, an out­line busi­ness case was

put to­gether to de­velop op­tions for the re­fur­bish­ment of the break­wa­ter.

These var­ied from do­ing noth­ing, which would re­sult in the fail­ure of the break­wa­ter, to strength­en­ing the ex­ist­ing struc­ture, con­struct­ing an off­shore break­wa­ter and restor­ing or top­ping up the rub­ble mound.

The pro­posed re­fur­bish­ment scheme is be­ing jointly de­vel­oped by Stena Line, An­gle­sey coun­cil and the Welsh gov­ern­ment but the ac­tual works to the break­wa­ter would be led by Stena Line.

The planned re­fur­bish­ment of the sea­ward side of the break­wa­ter com­prises two lay­ers of 20m3 Te­tra­pod con­crete ar­mour units of be­tween 40 and 55 tonnes and an outer, sin­gle layer of 60 tonne Chevron con­crete ar­mour units. Mean­while on the lee­ward side of the wall, an Ar­tic­u­lated Con­crete Block Mat­tress would be placed over a dis­tance of ap­prox­i­mately 10-15m from the lee­ward side of the wall to pre­vent any fur­ther ero­sion of the rub­ble mound and un­der­min­ing of the wall. It is un­known at this stage if the works would be car­ried out in a sin­gle stage be­tween March 2020 and Jan­uary 2022, or a three phase project last­ing un­til Oc­to­ber 2026, which is largely de­pen­dant on the avail­able fund­ing.

The re­port adds: “Once the re­fur­bish­ment is com­plete, fur­ther main­te­nance of the rub­ble mound would be min­i­mal and less than the main­te­nance ac­tiv­i­ties that are cur­rently be­ing un­der­taken.

“Wave over­top­ping of the struc­ture will still oc­cur, but at a lesser ex­tent, and as such on­go­ing re­point­ing and repair of the wall may still be re­quired. The struc­ture would con­tinue to be mon­i­tored an­nu­ally and re­pairs un­der­taken if dam­age oc­curs.”

The break­wa­ter was built us­ing rub­ble from the north­ern side of Holy­head moun­tain.

It was opened in 1873 by Al­bert Ed­ward, Prince of Wales, af­ter an 1847 Act of Par­lia­ment. It took 1,300 men more than 28 years to com­plete, and is Grade II listed.

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