When 800 homes and businesses were flooded in the English port town of Boston, it highlighted the town’s need for better protection against tidal storm surges.
A tidal barrier was identified as the best solution, not just to reduce the risk of tidal flooding to more than 14,000 properties and increase Boston’s resilience to climate change, but to enable opportunities for regenerating the town and its waterways.
We engineered the design of the gate structure, its operating machinery, and its control building, bringing our geotechnical, civil, and structural engineering capabilities to bear. We identified significant cost savings, while our innovative solutions designed out all piles under the barrier and made practical and effective use of low-carbon concrete, reducing the project’s carbon footprint.
Our team developed a methodology that used the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework to analyze how the project could provide wider societal and environmental benefits. It was the first major Environment Agency project to adopt this approach.
The Boston Barrier became fully operational in December 2020 and can be raised in just 20 minutes. It protects Boston from a 1 in 300-year flood event, accounting for future sea level rise and the likely increased frequency of tidal surges as a result of climate change. When all works are completed in 2023, 14,000 homes and 800 businesses will be better protected.
The project has delivered benefits against all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, exemplifying how sustainability and social outcomes can be embedded into all aspects of a civil engineering project.