ONE?section of Dawlish Warren beach has now been reopened to the public as a £14 million scheme to replenish Dawlish Warren beach nears completion.
Round the clock dredging and recharging has paid off with the western end of the beach expected to be fully refilled with sand a month ahead of schedule.
The equivalent of 50 Olympic-size swimming pools full of sand has been pumped onto the beach since the beginning of June and now the beach is up to three metres higher than before in places.
As well as providing an improved beach for visitors to enjoy, the increased sand levels will reduce damage to the defences protecting the amenity infrastructure and help the internationally important sand dunes grow and roll back naturally.
Richard Cox, project manager for the Environment Agency, said: ‘We’ve completed the beach recharge at the western end of Dawlish Warren ahead of our original schedule which tied in with the start of the summer holidays at the end of July.
‘Beach-goers can now reap the benefit of an improved beach at the western end and once the scheme is complete we’ll have reduced the risk of flooding to more than 2,900 properties around the Exe Estuary.’
Beach replenishment works will continue through the summer, with another 50 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of sand being placed on the eastern half of the beach.
This part of the scheme will be complete by the end of August.
Cllr Humphrey Clemens, Teignbridge Council’s executive member for housing and planning said: ‘This is excellent news for residents, traders and visitors, and it is even better news that the recharge work for the main beach has been completed ahead of schedule.
‘Dawlish Warren beach is looking wonderful and the area will now benefit from a multi-million-pound investment in flood defences that provide a modern standard of protection but also help preserve the beauty of this special place.’
Since work started in January, 1.2km of stone filled gabion baskets have been removed from the Warren.
The timber groynes have been refurbished, extended and replaced along the Warren to help hold sand on the beach. More than 200 new seven-metre long kingposts have been installed to form the new groynes, 10 to 14, and more than 1,500 new planks have been installed to raise the groynes to suit the new beach levels.
Construction of a new revetment between groynes 3 and 4 is ongoing but will be complete before the school summer holidays.
Work on the new ‘sandbag’ defence buried deep under the dunes at the narrowest point of the Warren, the Neck, will be ongoing throughout the summer.
Giant bags are being pumped full of sand and water which drain to create compacted sand bags up to 2.85m high. When finished, the bags will be buried in the back face of the dune.
The main construction works are due to be finished by October.