New sea wall for Dawlish rail route reaches key milestone


New sea wall for Dawlish rail route reaches key milestone

The railway through Dawlish is now better protected as construction of the new, bigger sea wall has reached another major milestone.


The installation of all 164 wall panels, 203 pre-cast blocks and 189 recurve units which return waves back out to sea is now complete. This innovative design coupled with the increased height of the new sea wall will help prevent delays and disruption to passengers by minimising the likelihood of the tracks flooding and allowing the line to reopen more quickly after major storms.


The first section of new sea wall – which runs for 360 metres along Marine Parade south west of Dawlish station – was completed in July 2020. Construction of the 415 metre second section – stretching from Coastguard breakwater northeast of Dawlish station to Colonnade breakwater – began in November 2020.


Following the significant progress made installing the wall panels, blocks and recurve units, Network Rail and its contractors BAM Nuttall are now fully focused on completing the link bridge that will connect the two sections of public, accessible promenade and the new stilling basin, where Dawlish Water runs into the sea.


This work is now expected to be finished in December, due to the discovery of an uncharted gas main in June which delayed piling to install foundations for the new link bridge close to Colonnade viaduct.


While construction is ongoing, for the safety of the public the access to the King’s Walk promenade and beach at Colonnade underpass will continue to be intermittently open. Every effort will be made to open it when it is safe to do so and times will be communicated in advance.


The final part of the project will see the construction of a new, accessible footbridge with lifts at Dawlish station, meaning any passengers, residents or visitors will be able to enjoy easy step-free access at the station for the first time. Work is due to start in September, with the bridge due to open next summer.


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