Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has today (28th February 2014) appointed Boskalis Westminster to undertake construction of the new £7 million detached breakwater for Cowes on the Isle of Wight. The construction of the new breakwater will be carried out in two phases, with the first phase, creating the core structure of the breakwater, commencing in spring 2014.
This initial construction phase will continue through the summer of 2014 and will then be followed by a consolidation period to allow for settlement of the breakwater structure during the autumn through to spring 2015. The contractor will then return to Cowes to re-dress the core structure and complete the construction of the breakwater during the summer of 2015.
The construction of the 350 metre long breakwater is the first phase of transforming Cowes into a “true sheltered harbour” and creates a variety of exciting development and business opportunities for East Cowes, Cowes and other Island stakeholders. The project is a joint initiative between CHC and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) with both parties funding the work, with co-operation from the Crown Estate.
Capt. Stuart McIntosh, Cowes Harbour Master, said: “The signing of the breakwater construction contract is a significant milestone and we are really looking forward to working alongside specialist contractor Boskalis Westminster to finally deliver the Cowes breakwater.” The breakwater is the first and most important component of the new harbour protection and infrastructure to be delivered as part of this partnership project. CHC will continue to work with the HCA to deliver the harbour authority’s priority of completing the sea defences by the delivery of the second phase: the extension to the Shrape breakwater and the dredging of the new Eastern Channel, which will be brought forward as part of the HCA’s proposed new marina at East Cowes.
Capt. McIntosh continued: “The Cowes breakwater project is CHC’s main priority, because not only does it offer great opportunities for harbour users, but it will enable economic development to follow, to the benefit of the local community. We have already seen this with the HCA tendering for a partner to develop and operate a new marina and associated waterfront regeneration in East Cowes. The launch of the Isle of Wight Expansion Fund is good timing for the Island too, as this grant fund should also act as a catalyst to help businesses further leverage the benefits of the protected harbour that the new Cowes breakwater creates.”
The Homes and Communities Agency is investing £3.16 million towards the installation of the Cowes breakwater. Paul Flatt, Senior Development Manager at the HCA, said: “The work to install a new breakwater at Cowes is an important part of wider plans to bring new investment and jobs to Cowes and provide a significant boost to the local economy.
“The benefits of this work, through supporting the Island’s marine and tourism economy and attracting extra visitors and trade for local businesses, are clear to us. This will happen in addition to plans we are progressing to develop a new 400-berth marina, which will secure Cowes’ reputation as an international destination. This is an exciting time for Cowes, and it’s good news that work will start on this important project in the coming months.”
Cowes Harbour Commission continues to work closely with Atkins, the design and engineering consultancy appointed to project manage the breakwater. Iain Roberts, Maritime Engineer at Atkins, said: “We’ve made significant progress to date in managing the procurement of the harbour infrastructure elements of the scheme and look forward to working with Boskalis Westminster as we move onto the next phase. Their design is technically robust and will have a long design life.”
Paul Datson, Head of Capital and Coastal Projects at Boskalis Westminster, stated: “Boskalis Westminster is very pleased to have been awarded the prestigious contract to design and construct the detached breakwater at Cowes. Our group has extensive experience around the world in the design and construction of breakwaters and other rock structures, and we are keen to start work on this project that will have such a positive benefit for Cowes. With our two major projects in Southampton and our local UK Head Office, we have significant resources in the area and look forward to working with Cowes Harbour Commissioners and Atkins in order to deliver a successful project.”
Cowes Harbour Commission will issue regular navigational information and news updates for stakeholders and harbour users during the construction process.