A NEW pier that pays homage to the coastal heritage of Dorset was officially opened by the Duke of York on 8 March.
Consultant Gifford designed the Jurassic Pier at West Bay near Bridport, named after a 150km stretch of coastline rich in natural history and popular among fossil hunters.
The 250m long pier has been built for more than just pleasure;
it forms a crucial part of coastal defence improvements and provides an upgrade to the town's harbour entrance.
Gifford specifi ed that the pier's western edge incorporate 100,000t of rock armour to dissipate the destructive effects of strong waves.
Residents of West Bay will be better protected from flooding thanks to the pier, which will also keep the harbour navigable by preventing the build-up of silt.
The new structure replaces a pier that had been damaged by 150 years of wave action and could no longer give the coast and harbour adequate long term protection.
Main contractor Costain built the new pier using sheet piles and a concrete deck. It features a new promenade, a slipway for dinghies and boat moorings.
Vibratory and hydraulic hammers were used to drive the 19m long piles 10m into the underlying bedrock.
A new groyne has been built further west along the coast to help prevent a newly replenished beach from being washed away and a pier east of the harbour entrance has also been strengthened.
Gifford project manager Nick Clarke said: 'Jurassic Pier has been designed to withstand the very diffi cult conditions that are common at West Bay.' He added that major storms and waves up to 7m high occurred during construction, but there had been no signifi cant damage to the pier.
The harbour improvement and coastal works cost £17M and were funded by the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, the Environment Agency and West Dorset District Council.