New drone images show how a key element of the Mumbles coastal defence project is being successfully put in place.
The photos show how hard-wearing steel sheet piles have been driven into the seabed close to a 1.2km stretch of sea wall that’s more than a century old.
The piles – each around 70cm wide and ranging in height from around 2.4m to 6.3m – will, in due course, form a key part of the improved wall’s foundations.
They’re being driven by special machinery to a depth of up to around 2m below existing beach level. Once construction is complete, they won’t be visible.
Laid end to end, the sheets would stretch around 6km in length, a similar distance to that between Mumbles and Swansea’s seafront Civic Centre. Their total weight is around 1,000 tons.
The photos were taken last month (note: June).
The coastal defence project is being delivered by main contractors Knights Brown on behalf of Swansea Council. It’s largely funded by the Welsh Government and is designed to protect the homes, businesses, attractions and other sites from storms and rising sea levels.
Council cabinet member Andrew Stevens said: “There’s real progress being made on this significant scheme.
“We thank everybody who has been affected in any way during this work, including local residents, businesses and visitors. Our contractors continue to do all they can to minimise disruption.
“The work will transform the prom and help protect Mumbles for many years to come.”
Knights Brown divisional director Andrew Eilbeck said: “Our Mumbles site team has been working hard over the past few months, making the most of the spring tides and fair weather.
“We thank the local community and businesses for their positive reaction and engagement we’ve received since starting the work.”
The work will strengthen the defences along Mumbles promenade for a distance of around 1.2km.
Homes and businesses there are increasingly threatened by rising sea levels brought about by climate change.
The thoughts of the public, business and others have helped to shape the project – and continue to do so.
Sections being improved include the vertical sea wall and sloping revetment along with upgraded slipways and beach access stairs; these support the prom, providing leisure opportunities for pedestrians and cyclists, residents and visitors.
Due to their age and erosion, the defences became tired and worn. For many years the council has undertaken frequent repairs.
Work underway at present includes the excavation of the existing structure, and preparation for the new revetment between Southend slipway and the bowling green. In another area of the project, work has started on building the new vertical wall next to the north side of the Oystermouth Square car park.
Prom diversions are in place to keep pedestrians and cyclists safe – and this season’s Swansea Bay Rider land train route takes passengers on journeys between Mumbles’ Mumtaz restaurant and Blackpill Lido.
To help keep the public informed the project team holds regular drop-in sessions in Mumbles, has put up notice boards on the prom and issues regular newsletters.