3rd February 2023

Colossal Drainage Channel Takes Shape as New Aquatic Habitat Planned at Teesworks

A colossal drainage system is taking shape at Teesworks to cope with surface water run-off from the upcoming SeAH Wind factory and future developments at South Bank and Dorman Point.

A new 1.9km channel is under construction as part of the South Bank redevelopment, initially to capture and manage the large volumes of water that will drain from the 90-acre monopile manufacturing facility. Constructed in two phases, the second phase of the scheme will also bring an intertidal salt marsh habitat to the area in 2024.

The South Bank Watercourse – designed by environmental engineering practice JBA Consulting – will also integrate the diversion of two existing becks which rise in the Eston Hills. Knitting Wife Beck and Holme Beck flowed across Dorman Point in underground concrete pipes and culverts up to 8m deep. These watercourses were polluted, hidden from sight, and devoid of wildlife, and were requiring of diversion to enable future industrial developments on Dorman Point to happen, at the same time serving as conduits for capturing surface water run-off from such developments.

The new watercourse is being constructed largely as an open channel, natural stream. It incorporates a gravel bed, and, in places, carefully landscaped banks. Notably, the project includes a new aquatic, inter-tidal habitat and, overall, it creates a green corridor leading to the River Tees.

Creating the watercourse has involved extensive earthworks to form a deep valley, incorporating step sides supported by stone-filled gabion basket retaining walls, that have been constructed utilising recycled aggregates recovered from the site, saving on cost and enhancing the site’s green credentials

Hall Construction Ltd is presently constructing the first phase of the vast scheme.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said: “We’re bringing game changing projects to Teesworks which will create thousands of good, well-paid jobs to local people.

“But these huge schemes require mammoth infrastructure so our landscape can cope. I’ve seen the work on the new man-made valley up close – and it is very impressive.

“This project will also ensure wildlife have a link to river habitats, and the project’s second phase will bring a new rock ramp and an intertidal salt marsh to boost the migration of fish. I’m also delighted to see a North-East firm taking on the first part of this vital scheme to ensure we’re keeping jobs close to home.

“With work gathering pace on our new South Bank Link Road and construction taking shape at South Bank Quay, we’re paving the way for the western end of Teesworks to flourish, and laying the ground for the benefit of the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool.”

The watercourse work to realign Holme Beck and Knitting Wife Beck will create around 3.5km of new surface water channels.

While the channel will be very straight, the watercourse will create its own meandering low flow channel within the bed over time.

Meanwhile, the new inter-tidal area has been designed to gather tidal sediment which, over time, will create around two acres of salt marsh habitat.

The phase one watercourse near the SeAH factory is due to be complete in May, with the second phase of work on the remainder of the channel scheduled to be finished in December 2023.

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