The ongoing Dover Harbour Project aims to transform the waterfront with a new breakwater, marina and upgraded pier to attract a host of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants. This will also create a greater space within the Eastern Docks for ferry traffic and will also boost employment opportunities for local people; the project itself has already contributed £129 million to the economy in East Kent.

Construction site requires immediate safety measures

Hydrosphere were approached to offer an effective solution to ensure the safety recreational water users in the harbor by marking a Delineation Zone in the Western Docks.

Before construction vessels were allowed to enter the area to start piling, a series of lit buoys needed to be installed. This comprised a number of 1.2 metre diameter Mobilis T 1200 buoys at 100m intervals, which were moored to the sea bed. In order to produce a continual warning line to anyone approaching the construction area, ropes were shackled between the buoys and every 3 metres along the rope yellow hemispherical floats were attached. This gave an unbroken a line of highly visible large buoys,  with smaller ones in between, marking the entire length of the construction area. Protecting swimmers, canoeists and other boat users in the area was an extremely important part of the project, producing a safe area in which work could commence.

The Dover Harbour Project had construction vessels ready and waiting so it was imperative for us to be able to provide this solution quickly, ensuring the project was kept on track.


Ensuring continual and safe traffic flow across the harbour

After successfully tendering for further involvement in the project, we were able to introduce a new and innovative solution to traffic control through a different part of  the construction site.

Part of the docks are being infilled to allow a greater standing area for buildings and cargo stowage. Unfortunately the infill site is the current passage for all traffic to the existing marina and other small vessels berths. Until the new marina is constructed, marina and other small will be passing through an area with working construction vessels. The Port of Dover Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) required a way to safely guide vessels through the site without hindering the project.

The solution was to install two marine traffic lights systems at the north and south ends of the construction area. The lights are sets of 3 red and 3 green lights which are controlled by radio from the VTS station. However the VTS station is a significant distance from the location where the traffic lights were to be located and one site does not have reliable radio communication to the tower. As The VTS station cannot see the traffic lights, a feedback system needed to be installed to show a) which lights are set to operate and that they are operating and b) if there are any faults. To compound matters, large ferries entering and leaving the Eastern Docks are actually taller than the VTS station and block all radio communication between the VTS and the traffic lights. This triggers the feedback system as a radio communication fault.

The solution we installed was a new traffic light design controlled by a radio net system, allowing the lights to both talk to each other and the VTS. Although this system saw teething problems due to the signals being blocked by the large vessels entering and leaving the harbour, the installation of a higher antenna solved this problem allowing the smooth continuation of the project.

As the project is progressing, we continue to provide new effective navigation lights solutions throughout the site.