WORK is set to get underway to repair Sunderland’s Roker Pier this summer after it was badly damaged by storms in November.
The pier has been closed since gale force winds and huge waves, breaking as high as the lighthouse itself, washed away more than 100 metres of railings and the coping stones they were cemented into over the weekend of 5 and 6 November.
In late 2016 divers using heavy lifting gear managed to recover more than 35 of the granite coping stones, each weighing 2.2 tonnes, from the sea around the pier. As many of these as possible will be used in the work to repair the pier and the reinstate the railings.
The process of appointing a contractor to carry out the repairs begins this week. The intention is that the contractor will be on site in the next couple of months, with work due for completion in the autumn.
Work includes replacing:
– 800 metres of modern railing with historic replica railings
– 100 metres of granite copings
– 1600 metres of bottom mesh panels with a low level rail
– 800 metres of historic railings will also be repaired and repainted
Les Clark, the Council’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “November’s storm damage was a real setback to our plans for opening the pier for tours. We were due to launch the first tour of the lighthouse the very day we discovered the railings had been washed into the sea.
“Then, when the weather improved sufficiently to get structural engineers onto the pier, we found that more railings than initially thought had been washed away by the sea, and the other remaining sections had suffered damage too.
“We’d always planned to replace the modern railings this summer as part of our wider restoration of the pier, but the extra work we’ve had to put in to prepare the technical specifications and procure a contractor following the tidal surge damage has delayed the start date.
“We’re quite limited in when we can do work on the pier because of the need to be sure of a stretch of decent weather so the summer months are an ideal time to get the repairs carried out.
(optional sentence)”We’re as keen to get the pier open as anyone but public safety is paramount and we won’t know until we’re a couple of months into the work whether it’s going to be possible to open the pier to limited public access while contractors are on site.”
Work is also due to start this summer on a new public access to the pier tunnel which will allow it to be opened for public tours.