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Costain and Network Rail have completed £40m-worth of repairs to the railway at Dover three months ahead of schedule.

The line reopened this week

The line between Dover and Folkestone reopened on Monday 5th September after a nine-month project to repair the line. It had been expected to take all year and not open until Christmas.

The sea wall at Dover and 250 metres of track between Dover Priory and Folkestone collapsed on Christmas Eve 2015. Storms lowered the level of Shakespeare Beach in Dover by almost two metres.  The foot of the sea wall was exposed to the full force of the sea, leading to sink holes appearing in the railway above and damage to the sea wall and its foundations.

The extent of the damage meant reconstruction was on a much wider scale than the repairs undertaken by Network Rail at Dawlish in south Devon after storm damage in 2014, encompassing a longer section of railway, a very different type of failure, twice the tide heights and a much higher wall (10 metres).

Incorporating designs from Tony Gee, the project has involved:

  • Building a new 235 metre-long viaduct supported by more than 130 concrete columns
  • More than 200 people working 24 hours a day, seven days week
  • More than 147,000 hours of work being spent on the project in total
  • Using over 880 tonnes of reinforcing steel and enough concrete to fill an Olympic swimming pool more than 2.5 times over
  • Creating a defence for the sea wall using more than 90,000 tonnes of rock.

Alan Ross, director of route asset management, Network Rail, said: “The work being completed three months ahead of schedule is a true reflection of the teamwork and commitment of everyone who has worked on the project.

“On Christmas Eve last year, our teams were faced with a huge challenge that would normally take two years to fix. In just nine months, we have been able to return the railway to the passengers of Dover and Folkestone and this I am incredibly proud of.

“I would like to offer my gratitude and appreciation to all those who have played a part in making this possible, and I would like to thank the passengers for bearing with us and understanding while we have been working to fix the line here at Dover.”

Steve Kilby, Network Rail senior programme manager, added: “I’m very proud to stand here and see trains running to Folkestone again. This has been the number one job in my career, primarily because of the people – this has been the most collaborative project I’ve ever worked on. The main lesson I’ve learned is that anything can be done if people have the will and can work together towards it.”

The mayor of London has approved plans for up to 10,000 new homes to be built in Barking.

Approximately 10,000 new homes are planned for Barking RiversideSadiq Khan gave his consent to a revised masterplan for Barking Riverside – a 180-hectare brownfield site on the northern banks of the River Thames in Eats London that is the single largest regeneration site in the capital.

London & Quadrant (L&Q) is developing the site with the Greater London Authority.

Previous plans for 28% of the housing to be classed as affordable have been tweaked. There is now to be at least 35% affordable housing, with provisions to raise this to 50% over time through additional investment and viability reviews.

L&Q chief executive David Montague said: “As Barking Riverside is one of the largest and most ambitious regeneration schemes in Europe, L&Q is committed to delivering homes, across a range of incomes, that are genuinely affordable for everyone. The revised masterplan approval helps us achieve this goal.

“The potential of Barking Riverside is enormous and for L&Q it is a significant step forward in delivering on its promise to build 100,000 homes over the next decade.  We are delighted to be at the forefront of making this exciting vision a reality.”

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Barking Riverside has enormous potential to deliver thousands of the much-needed homes Londoners so urgently need.

“I’ve made it clear that tackling London’s housing crisis is my number-one priority. Fixing this problem will be a marathon, not a sprint, but developments like this one will play a huge part in our efforts to provide genuinely affordable homes to buy and rent.

“Our next task is to ensure this development includes the facilities and infrastructure which will make this a fantastic place to live and to visit, rather than simply a housing development.”

The site is owned by Barking Riverside Ltd, a joint venture between the Greater London Authority (49%) and the housing association L&Q (51%), which took over Bellway’s stake in the development earlier this year . Until the 1990s it was home to three power stations and a large amount of landfill.

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