Recent severe flooding in Boston – in December 2013 over 700 homes were flooded – highlighted the need for better protection against tidal surges. Building a multifunctional barrier, a smaller version of the Thames Barrier, across the Haven was identified as the best way of reducing the risk of flooding to more than 14,000 properties. The Environment Agency needed a preliminary design sufficient to provide a robust cost estimate in order to obtain government consent for the project.
We engineered the design of the 25m sector gate and associated operating machinery. Our hydraulic modelling, including computational fluid dynamics, identified significant cost savings. Our specialist team supported the design further by carrying out surveys which fed into environmental impact assessments. We also created 3D printed models, photomontages and a four minute animation that showed how the scheme would look in operation, which helped with stakeholder engagement and the consultation process.
The barrier is scheduled to be completed by December 2019. Boston will then be protected from a 1 in 300 year tidal surge event, even accounting for climate change, and giving the town one of the highest standards of protection against tidal flooding in the country. The barrier will also contribute to the long-term strategic aspiration of local authorities, contributing to economic regeneration in the town and region by aiding the future development of inland waterways, boosting tourism and improving connectivity between cities in the east of England.