Huge crane, diggers and steel piling are on site at crumbling Swansea sea wall

A GBP10 million rebuild of Swansea West Pier's inner wall is well under way. The 10-month project will shore up Swansea beach and maintain safe navigation for vessels near the Tawe barrage. The work is being carried by contractors on behalf of Associated British Ports (ABP), which owns Swansea port.

Robert Gray, ABP port manager for Swansea and Port Talbot, said the construction phase was the final part of a three-year, three-stage process which involved assessing different options, and designing a scheme and obtaining the necessary consents and licences. Mr Gray said there were complexities surrounding the job because of the marine environment. "By making this significant investment in the repair of Swansea West Pier, we are not only preventing coastal erosion but also hope that we will create an opportunity for Swansea Council and others to develop public access on top of the rebuilt structure to benefit the local community in future," he said.

"I'm very pleased that the owners (shareholders) of ABP have allocated that amount of money to do this work."

Some of the machinery on site at Swansea West Pier inner wall Huge crane, diggers and steel piling are on site at crumbling Swansea sea wallA close-up of the work at Swansea West Pier inner wall

Mr Gray said noise and traffic disruption would be minimised as much as possible. The 240-metre inner wall has been deteriorating for a while. Emergency repairs were carried out in 2017 and 2018.

The main West Pier itself was built in the 1800s to help shipping in and out of the city's busy docks. Leo Martin, managing director of civil engineering firm Graham, said: "This is a vital project for the city of Swansea and its historic port and we're proud to have been chosen to deliver it on behalf of ABP."

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Swansea port covers some 520 acres, and it handles around GBP140 million of goods per year, including chemicals, steel, and wood pulp and paper for two large tissue manufacturers in the region. Asked if ABP was considering any disposal of land at Swansea port in the near future, Mr Gray said this was being assessed at a UK-wide level as part of a masterplanning exercise, which would be completed next year.

He said he would like to see more of the Swansea site used for port and manufacturing-led operations.

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