JMS Engineers tackle flood defences

JMS Engineers tackle flood defences

When tidal surges flooded Ipswich in 2013, many were reminded of the terrible flood of 1953. Now, thanks to the new £72m Ipswich Tidal Barrier, local residents and businesses will be safe from the tide for good. Norwich-based engineering experts JMS have been one of the key players in making this huge project a reality.

The new barrier uses gates, cylinders and hydraulic rams and works much like the Thames Barrier. The whole operation is overseen from a control centre, which is not only built to withstand serious flooding, but is also designed with a striking and dramatic steel, concrete and glass architectural style – thanks to JMS.

The team were chosen to take on the responsibility for the design and layout of this control centre, which sits alongside the main construction. They wanted to create something that caught not only the rising tide, but the eye too. The observation and control rooms on the upper levels have a stylish overhanging ‘twist.’ “We used our 3D modelling systems to figure out how to fix the cantilevered beams in place, and then the construction was carried out by our expert engineers. And they’ve really done Ipswich proud. Because the control centre really is the bit that most people notice and comment on for its unique style, even if they’re not aware of the vital role it plays in keeping their homes and businesses safe,” says Rodney.

JMS are in control

The tidal barrier that’s soon to open (or close, depending how you look at it) is a joint funding effort between several local and national agencies, including Ipswich Borough Council, New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the Have Gateway Partnership. “It’s come at just about the right time. The present flood protection was built during the 1970s, and was in dire need of a complete upgrade,” says JMS’s Rodney Bashford. “The new barrier will not only protect 15,000 homes and over 400 businesses in the area from flooding, it will also encourage increased development in Ipswich. It’ll give investors the confidence to start projects in the town, knowing that the area is safe from tidal surges. We’re proud to be involved in this important project.”

Not content with holding back the tide, JMS Engineers remain heavily involved in many of Suffolk’s other major engineering projects. Visit to find out more.

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