This week the Wild Coast project has cranked into action, with the arrival of Crossrail's appointed contractors Bam Nuttall.Bam Nuttall were awarded the contract to construct an unloading facility on Wallasea Island so that excavated material from the Crossrail tunnels in central London will be transported to the island site, where it will be used to create part of the RSPB’s Wild Coast Project. Our normally tranquil office area has been the scene of much activity as cranes winch temporary offices into the works compound which will be the contractors' base for the coming months.
The works will be carried out in two phases. A works compound will be set up in Grapnells Farmyard and earthmoving machinery will be brought in to prepare the ground along the berm for piling equipment, which will be used for the installation of the temporary jetty.This first phase will be completed by the end of September 2011, while works on the sensitive ecological areas of the Wallasea Island foreshore will cease between October 2011 and April 2012 to minimise any impacts on the wintering wildfowl and wading birds’ natural season.After the winter break the second phase of the works involves installing the jetty on the River Crouch, building a conveyor system, footbridge and a radial stacker (for distributing the material). The jetty pontoons, which have been constructed in Poland, will soon be arriving on the Essex coast and will be taken to Tilbury docks. There they will be fitted out with on-deck equipment before being towed to Wallasea Island in April 2012. This work will take approximately three months to complete and the facility will be ready to start receiving excavated material, delivered by ship from the Crossrail tunnels, in June 2012.Anyone with a liking for large construction machinery will enjoy the scene over the coming years as the development of our immense new reserve gets underway. However, as the island is so big, those preferring the tranquillity of the seawalls and the call of the sea birds will still be able to wander along the public footpath, which will remain open throughout construction.As the Autumn migration continues into our winter season of Brent geese and waterfowl, we can look forward to wallasea offering an even bigger welcome to all kinds of visitors over the coming years.