The 18-month Cowes breakwater project is entering its final phase, with harbour commissioners targetting an October completion date

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Work on the Cowes breakwater has restarted for 2015, with Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) targeting an October completion date.

The last week of February saw contractors Westminster Boskalis carry out a one-week survey to determine how much the sediment has shifted over the winter months.

Efforts are due to be ramped up in May with profiling of the gravel slopes, before the final layer of rock armour protection is put into place in mid-to-late June.

This stage, which will involve importing 45,000 tonnes of rock from Cherbourg, is estimated to take around three months.

Cowes breakwater dimensions

The finished breakwater will measure 107m (350’) in length by 5.9m (19’4”) in height, and offer greater tidal protection for Cowes Harbour and local boat users for the next 50 years.

In the meantime, an exclusion zone remains in place around the breakwater and skippers are reminded to look out for the lit buoys.

Cpt. Stuart McIntosh, harbourmaster at CHC, said: “2015 is going to be an exciting year on the development front for Cowes Harbour.

“Completion on the new Cowes breakwater will realise the Commission’s long-term goal of transforming Cowes into a true sheltered harbour, protecting jobs and businesses and creating a catalyst for further investment.”

The Cowes breakwater construction project will enable the development of a new Isle of Wight marina from Camper & Nicholsons, which will feature 400 berths measuring up to 25m.

Paul Datson, head of capital and coastal projects at Boskalis Westminster, added: “We are conducting regular surveys and cone penetration tests on the Cowes breakwater.

“And after detailed evaluation of the settlement process we are confident that gravel settlement and bearing capacity of the seabed meets our design predictions.

“We can therefore proceed as planned with the 2015 construction programme and final phase of this 18-month project.”