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Gates too late for Thames Barrier


Having had some responsibility for the design of the tidal barriers on the north bank of the Thames, and having therefore taken an interest in the Thames Barrier itself, I was interested by your article 'Weathering the storm' (NCE 24 January) about a very similar barrier in Germany.

If, at the start of design of the Thames Barrier, it had been known by how much the shipping up and down the Thames would diminish, would there have been just one, or at most two, navigable openings rather than the four actually provided? The other openings could have been closed by falling radial gates, or perhaps even vertical lift gates, leading to a considerable cost saving.

Tony Wimbush, 1 Meldrum Close, Oxted, Surrey RH8 9BY

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