West Kirby flood wall project nears completion as flood gates set to be installed

Visitors to West Kirby are being asked to respect any fenced-off areas as complementary works for the new flood wall project are continuing for the next couple of weeks.

Though most of the works to South Parade and the promenade are now complete and fully accessible, there are still a number of outstanding jobs to be completed which mean there will periods when small sections of the highway and/or promenade will have access restricted for a short period of time.

In most of those areas, there will be a safe diversion route around the fences – there is no need for anyone to climb over the wall structure or over the fencing.

Anyone that does so is putting themselves and any contractors working within that area at risk and people are asked not to do it – heed the signs and follow any directions.

By the end of this week, works to the steps at the north end of South Parade – near Riversdale Road – will be completed, which means that there will be direct access to the beach from the promenade from that end once again.

By mid-July, more than half of the public car park at Dee Lane – which has been closed to the public as it has been the site compound for contractors for the duration of the flood wall construction – will be available for public parking once again.

Works to improve access to the permanent RNLI station on South Parade will also be complete by mid-July. This has involved the demolition of a former council storage shed next to the old gate, which has allowed for the size of the RNLI entrance to be extended.

Lifeboat crews are likely to continue operating from their temporary base at West Kirby Sailing Centre until all works regarding the flood wall have been completed.

The final stage of the flood alleviation scheme will be the installation of the flood gates. 25 of them are needed in total; most of these will be ‘demountable’ barriers, which means they will be kept stored and only put in place ahead of any anticipated flood event.

Six ‘gaps’ in the wall will have swing gates installed. These will be in place permanently but only closed ahead of any forecast flood. The benefit of having these in place permanently is that they can be kept open for longer before – and opened sooner after – a flood event.

The other three gates – one at the Sandy Lane slipway end of South Parade and two at the other end adjacent to the Sailing Centre – will be heavy-duty sliding gates, which are secured to the side of the wall when not in use, but can very quickly be slid into place when needed.

These gates do require stronger foundations and supporting fixtures, which means the flood wall adjacent to both these gates has had to be built higher at these points to accommodate the gates.

However, the major advantage of incorporating these sliding gates is that they can be closed at the very latest moment ahead of any flood waters, which will give the maximum possible access time to the water to the RNLI lifeboat crew, should they need it.

Image: Wirral Council

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