CONTRACTORS ARE racing to move an inhabited lighthouse 17m further away from a cliff edge following the huge collapse at Beachy Head, 1km away on the East Sussex coast.
After the massive rock fall of more than 0.4M.m3 at the nearby chalk cliffs on Monday, contractor Abbey Pynford will slide the 850t, 17m high Belle Tout structure into its new position on 12 March rather than the planned date in
The sea is claiming land in the area at an average of 0.5m/year. Recent heavy rains have waterlogged the cliffs and further major collapses are anticipated.
Belle Tout resident Mark Roberts said the £180,000 relocation was planned two years ago. The lighthouse is only 5m from the cliff edge, and it is hoped the move will gain it at least 60 years of relative safety.
Work on excavation and installation of a reinforced concrete ring beam and internal grillage started last October. Jacking of the structure will be carried out on 14 February.
After raising the structure on up to 20 hydraulic jacks, Abbey Pynford will finish work on four 1.2m wide reinforced concrete beams. The lighthouse will then be slid along polished steel rails with the aid of grease skates to its new location (see diagram).
With the right weather conditions the operation is expected to take no more than a day.