Work to construct the long awaited £100M Boston Barrier flood defence scheme has started on site.
Initial work involves dredging over 5,000m3 of silt from the Boston Haven to make it ready for construction.
The Environment Agency said that over the coming months 2,000t of steel sheet piles would be installed to strengthen the banks of the River Witham before the barrier is built.
The barrier received its final go ahead in November last year when the £75M design and build contract was awarded to a Bam Nuttall and Mott MacDonald joint venture.
The scheme was first approved by the government in December 2014, but delayed after the Port of Boston opposed a Transport and Works Act application made by the Environment Agency in August 2016. The Port formally withdrew its objection in March last year allowing the barrier to progress to a public inquiry.
When complete, the 25m wide, hydraulic-powered barrier across the River Witham will protect around 14,000 homes and businesses from flooding. The town suffered severe tidal flooding in December 2013 when more than 800 properties flooded across 55 streets. Flooding also occurred in 1953 and 1978.
The scheme will also feature a new control building, new flood defence walls on both banks and a replacement gate across the entrance to the existing Port of Boston wet dock.
“This government investment will make sure Boston is one of the best protected towns on the East Coast, and I am proud to be putting the first spade in the ground on this project,” said floods minister Thérèse Coffey.
“The Boston Barrier is part of our plan to invest £229M over the next four years to make sure the risk of flooding to 49,000 homes and businesses in Lincolnshire is significantly reduced.”
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2020.