11 March 2008
The following statement was made by the Minister for Transport and Technical Services to the States Assembly this morning:
“Members will be aware of the major structural damage that occurred to the sea wall between West Park and First Tower on last night’s high tide and severe storm with the resultant flooding of Victoria Avenue and as far back as Gloucester Street.
A section of wall spanning some 400 metres has been damaged. Initial inspection indicates that the damage is limited to the top coping stones and parapet wall, however, a full survey of the main wall and its foundations will be carried out this morning on the low tide to ensure there is no major structural damage.
I am pleased to advise Members that this morning’s high tide has not resulted in the same level of flooding as we saw last night. The tide did flow through the damaged sections of the wall which resulted in localised flooding on the promenade and Victoria Avenue but no further. The roads are being cleaned of debris and should be open about now.
To minimise the impact of any further overtopping of the sea, my department is today constructing a large temporary wall in front of the damaged area using “Big Bags” filled with sand and aggregate, the type used by the construction industry to transport material around the island. By the end of today we aim to have several hundred of these in place to provide temporary protection.
The department will immediately deploy resources to commence repairs to the damaged sections so that essential repairs can be completed before the next set of spring tides due later this month however, the full renovation of this wall is likely to take months rather than weeks to complete.
I would like to assure Members that this particular stretch of sea wall has been maintained as part of the ongoing sea defence capital maintenance programme and had major works carried out to the foundations in 2004/5 and regular checks and maintenance is carried out on the above ground structure.
The issue of sea water flooding back along Victoria Avenue and up to Gloucester Street is one that I will be reviewing to see if any alternative measures can be implemented to prevent, or at least reduce the impact on this busy junction and the surrounding properties.
May I say thank you to all of the Transport and Technical Services Staff, Parish Staff, Emergency Service personnel and Honorary Police for their tremendous efforts over the past 24 hours. They have all had to endure some of the worst weather conditions we have seen for many years and as usual, have provided the island with tremendous service.”