Access to Dawlish’s bustling beach and promenade will be disrupted this summer as Network Rail enters the final stages of construction of a new sea wall for the station. The company has apologized but says ‘safety first’ must be in place as major works begin.
The Town Gateway/Colonnade underpass is due to temporarily close next month as Network Rail begins a key stage of work on the second section of the new, larger sea wall which will protect the Coastal Railway and the town from storms and rising sea level. Starting Monday, June 13 and for up to 12 weeks, the underpass will close while engineers install the foundations for a new bridge connecting two sections of the boardwalk and the culvert across which the water of Dawlish will flow into the sea.
Engineers will use large and heavy machinery to install the 20-meter-long foundations, which are necessary due to the poor ground conditions in this area. A spokesman said: ‘Safety is Network Rail’s number one priority, and the size and location of these machines means the underpass must be closed during construction.
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During the closure, the beach and Kings Walk opposite Marine Parade will remain open and access will be via the Kennaway Tunnel stepped walkway. By crossing the footbridge, the beach is accessible from the slipway at Boat Cove and Coryton Cove.
Network Rail says every effort will be made to complete the work sooner if safe to do so. There may also be times during construction when the underpass can be safely opened.
“This is the final critical aspect of this work to protect the railway and historic station,” the spokesperson said. “It is not possible to delay it past the summer months due to the extreme weather conditions the Dawlish coast can experience.
“Postponing this work would also prevent the second section of the seawall from reopening to the public in September as planned.”
When completed, it will join the first section of the seawall and allow people to walk along a wider and safer promenade from Boat Cove, south of Dawlish Station, nearly a mile from the breakwater. coastguard blades to the north before continuing uninterrupted to Dawlish Warren along the original seawall. They will also have free access to the beaches and the train station.
The design of a new, fully accessible station footbridge with lifts has also received approval from Teignbridge District Council, with work due to start later this year and the footbridge due to open in 2023. Network lead sponsor Julie Gregory Rail, said: “I would like to apologize for any disruption the Town Gateway/Colonnade Underpass closure may cause and sincerely thank residents, businesses and visitors for their patience and understanding as we complete this milestone. critical and final construction.
“I understand that this closure will be disappointing for the community, particularly for people with accessibility needs or those with strollers and especially during the busier summer months. However, we will never compromise on the safety of the public or our colleagues, and to ensure that we stay on track to complete the second section of the seawall and open the entire promenade and both beaches in September, it It is imperative that this work be completed now. .”