New Dawlish sea wall to open to public

By Will Goddard

24th May 2023 | Local News

Drone shot of new sea wall and railway station (Network Rail)
Drone shot of new sea wall and railway station (Network Rail)

Dawlish's new sea wall is complete and set to open to the public from 2pm on Thursday (25 May), Network Rail has announced.

People will be able walk from Boat Cove to Coastguards footbridge, where it joins the original sea wall. The beach will also reopen to the public.

Work on the second section of the sea wall, from the Colonnade breakwater to the Coastguard breakwater, began in November 2020 and is now complete. The first section, from Boat Cove to the Colonnade breakwater, was completed in July 2020. A link bridge connects the two sections, and there is also a channel for Dawlish Water to flow out to sea.

The £80m project comes after a storm damaged the original sea wall in 2014.

The new wall is eight metres high - two and a half metres taller than the previous one.

Drone shot of the link bridge connecting the two sections (Network Rail)

Ewen Morrison, Network Rail senior programme manager, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be opening this new section of sea wall and would like to wholeheartedly thank the community of Dawlish for their patience and support while the construction took place close to their homes and businesses over two and a half years.

"The project has not been without its challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the discovery of an uncharted gas main and some particularly wet, cold and stormy conditions over the past winter. It is testament to the efforts of the teams involved that they have worked around the clock, whatever the weather, to deliver this huge feat of engineering.

"The project is vital not just for Dawlish but for the whole of the South West peninsula as the railway connects communities in 50 towns and cities with the rest of the UK. The railway is now better protected and we hope the new wall, promenade and footbridge will be used and enjoyed by generations to come."

Damage to the railway at Dawlish in 2014 (Network Rail)

Newton Abbot MP Anne Marie Morris, whose constituency includes Dawlish, said: "It has been an incredible journey since that fateful night when the sea wall came down to what we now have in Dawlish.

"The new wall, the promenade, rockfall shelter and the footbridge provide the additional resilience this essential piece of infrastructure needs to ensure the long-term viability of the line.

"Network Rail have been hugely impressive in their dedication to the task at hand. I look forward to continuing to work with them as the work further up the line to Teignmouth continues."

What is the progress of other projects at the railway?

Work on a rockfall shelter north of Parson's Tunnel between Dawlish and Holcombe began in late 2021 and is due to be complete in autumn 2023. 

new accessible footbridge with lifts at Dawlish railway station is due to open in summer 2023 after work began in September.

Netting and fencing work on the cliffs between Dawlish and Holcombe to protect the railway from falling debris will start in spring 2023.

SEE ALSO: Dawlish's MP attempts to secure at-risk rail protection funding


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