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News - 19/03/14

Works progress in Cowes Harbour

Work is well underway this week in Cowes Harbour on ground investigations of the seabed which will provide important geotechnical data to each of the five short-listed companies competing to win the prestigious contract for the construction of the new Cowes breakwater.

Harbour Master at Cowes, Capt. Stuart McIntosh, said: “It’s an exciting time for Cowes Harbour Commission as these ground investigations, recommended by our engineering consultants Atkins, represent the final piece of field work that is needed to enable a full tendering process for the breakwater build.”

The unusual sight of a “jack-up barge” can now be observed at the entrance to Cowes Harbour, which will require working around the clock drilling for core samples. Five boreholes are being drilled between 20 to 35 metres into the seabed, which consists mainly of soft silty alluvial clays overlying stiffer shelly clays with limestone bands. Once the boreholes have been drilled successfully, a series of “cone penetration tests” will be carried out and samples sent off for laboratory testing.

Jack-up barge Coastal Explorer at work in Cowes Harbour

Stuart McIntosh continued: “On Bank Holiday Monday evening, the drill casing became stuck in the substrata which unfortunately resulted in some noise whilst they extracted the drill and casing and I apologise for any noise disturbance. We have reviewed the operation with the contractor and are making every effort to minimise future noise problems.

“We anticipate any disruption to be short-term and generally confined to the first week of operation, ending this Sunday; the whole process is expected to be completed by Thursday, 5th September.

“I’d very much like to thank harbour users and local residents for their support during these essential field works, which are the next step towards providing Cowes Harbour with a 350 metre long breakwater that will give marine vessels and the local area vital protection from high winds and tidal pressures.”