Another brick in the wall – key milestone reached in Dawlish: Dawlish sea wall 23 July

Monday 2 Aug 2021

Another brick in the wall – key milestone reached in Dawlish

Region & Route:
Wales & Western
| Wales & Western: Western

The new sea wall at Dawlish is one step closer to completion following the successful installation of the concrete wall panels.

Network Rail’s work on the second section of the new sea wall at Dawlish is progressing well, with all 143 concrete wall panels now successfully installed.

Over the past three months, Network Rail’s contractor BAM Nuttall has installed the concrete panels ranging from 6.09 to 6.69 metres in size and each weighing between 11.55 to 12.95 tonnes, using a Linkbelt TCC 750 Telescopic Crane. Each panel has been lifted and then clipped into place, followed by grout being inserted into the gaps between each panel.

Behind the newly installed panels, concrete is continuing to be poured, helping backfill between the new panels and existing sea wall and further strengthening this new structure. This project is also benefitting from the latest in construction technology, with low carbon concrete being used as part of the concrete backfill, reducing the carbon impact of this project by two-thirds.

This milestone has been reached despite limited access to the beach as a result of the tides, with the construction team constrained to only working during the lower spring tide periods, where it is possible to operate the large and heavy machinery on the beach.

Alongside this work, engineers have also installed the remaining piles at Coastguard breakwater whilst improving the drainage of the track by drilling large holes - known as coring - into the stonework underneath the railway.

Now that all the piles and wall panels have been installed, attention turns to fitting the curved wave returns on top of the panels, which is expected to be completed by September. Work will also begin to build the new stairs down to the beach at Coastguard breakwater.

Construction of this second section of the £80 million upgrade first began last November and is expected to take around two years to finish. Once complete, this 415-metre section which stretches from Coastguard breakwater east of Dawlish station to Colonnade breakwater, will link up with the already completed first section of sea wall at Marine Parade.

Local residents and visitors are reminded that while this work is being carried out, part of the beach and path between Dawlish and Dawlish Warren remains closed, and a diversion is in place at Rockstone Bridge via Exeter Road.

Ewen Morrison, Network Rail senior programme manager for the Dawlish sea wall project, said: “It is so satisfying to see us reach this important landmark in the second section of the new sea wall now that all the piles and concrete wall panels have been installed.

“The excellent progress that has been made is testimony to the hard work and coordination of staff from Network Rail and our contractors BAM Nuttall, who have successfully worked under challenging conditions.

“As we near another step to completion, it is exciting to know the positive impact this project will have in Dawlish, helping protect the railway, town and wider south west region for at least the next 100 years.”

Yan Sayles, Project Manager, BAM Nuttall, said: “Reaching this milestone is a testament to the hard work of the personnel on site, who are currently working around the clock through all weather conditions to deliver this vital bit of infrastructure.

“Works in the tidal environment are extremely challenging. This, coupled with the unique logistical challenges, make this achievement even more impressive as the works have to be re-sequenced on a daily basis to take into account the tidal and weather conditions.”

For more information and to follow the latest developments of the construction of the new sea wall at Dawlish, please visit

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Rob Breckon
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