Four apprentices have joined the Knights Brown team to work on continuing refurbishment works at Porthcawl’s iconic Western Breakwater.
Work got underway earlier this year on the £6.4m scheme that will help defend Porthcawl from flooding and any potential future rise in sea levels.
The first phase is focusing on the Western Breakwater and will see extensive restoration and refurbishment of the 200-year-old structure to ensure that it can continue to stand up to the tides and tough maritime weather conditions.
A temporary causeway is currently under construction at the base of the breakwater which is made up of 6,000 tonnes of imported ‘rock armour’. This will allow repairs to be undertaken on the wave-side revetment.
Unseen voids are present in the breakwater structure and 16 tonnes of grout is being placed within the voids on a daily basis to strengthen it.
Due to the extreme tidal range within the Bristol Channel, certain areas can only be accessed and worked on a fortnightly basis as they are inaccessible without extreme low tides. Even during these periods, the team may only have a two-hour window in which to work due to the tides, making it a complicated and challenging scheme. The project is expected to be completed next summer.
A second phase of the project will see construction specialists Knights Brown carry out work to upgrade the Eastern Promenade to create improved flood defences between Porthcawl Marina and Coney Beach.
The work will then extend into Sandy Bay and as far as Rhych Point, where flood defences and dune protection works will be upgraded.
As part of their commitment to providing employment and training opportunities, Knights Brown have recently welcomed four local apprentices to the team with two living in Porthcawl and Bridgend, and two from Swansea.
The Leader, Cllr Huw David said: “I would like to welcome the four apprentices onto the project and wish them luck as they tackle this unique engineering challenge.
“This project forms a vital part of the infrastructure for defending the town against flooding, and will also help to secure future development in the Salt Lake area of Porthcawl.
“It will keep more than 500 homes and over 170 businesses safe, and will protect assets and infrastructure worth millions of pounds.”
The flood defence work is being jointly funded by Welsh Government and Bridgend County Borough Council as part of the Coastal Risk Management Programme.