Orkney Islands Council
Working together for a better Orkney

Kirkwall flood defence works begin

Kirkwall flood defence works begin
31 January 2017

Construction of the Council’s flood defence scheme along the central Kirkwall shoreline starts next week.

Orkney Islands Council’s Kirkwall Harbour Flood Prevention scheme will enable a minimum 1.1m high uninterrupted barrier between Ayre Mills and St Catherine’s Place roundabout, to help bolster low lying parts of central Kirkwall against flooding as a result of storm surges.

The project, worth around £1.75m including design costs, is 80% funded by the Scottish Government and is required under the Flood Risk Management Act.

The contract for the work has been awarded to local building and construction company Andrew Sinclair Ltd.

Measures include increasing existing wall and rock armour heights in places, the installation of permanent floodgates at major opening such as to piers and slipways, and removable barriers at smaller ones. The walls in front of the marina and basin will be faced in Orkney stone, with the top 0.45m portion being a panel of toughened glass. The public were invited to comment on the appearance of the works in 2015.

Construction activity will start from February 6 at Harbour Street opposite the Kirkwall Hotel.

There will be some changes to traffic and pedestrian access over the course of the project.

From the start of next week, the taxi rank alongside Kirkwall Basin will be temporarily relocated to the car parking spaces in front of Orkney Ferries and the footway running alongside the basin will be diverted around the works.

Construction at the Basin will be in three phases, starting at the area east of the Corn Slip (opposite the Kirkwall Hotel), followed by the area west of the Corn Slip and then the Corn Slip itself. To minimise disruption it’s intended that only one section of footways  or basin will be closed at a time.

Once works at the Basin are complete, construction will move onto the remaining sections of new flood walling, eastward to Shore Street and west as far as Ayre Mills where the existing Ayre Road seawall will be raised and the rock armour crest level raised.

Darren Richardson, OIC’s Head of Infrastructure, said: “This is a long-awaited project, and one that the Council is required to carry out as part of its flood prevention duties. It is a big project and will involve some disruptions, however we’ll be doing it in stages to minimise those as far as possible. We apologise in advance for delays while this important work is underway.”

Updates on traffic and pedestrian arrangements for these works will be given later in the summer.

Construction of the scheme is expected to take around ten months.