ENGINEERS have been praised for securing millions of pounds towards vital sea defence work along the Hartlepool coastline.
Work has started to reinforce the sea defences along a 700-metre stretch of coastline at Seaton Carew, from the Station Lane access ramp to the coach park.
The multi-million pound construction work is being carried out in two phases, the first of which will take around eight weeks.
Labour councillor Robbie Payne, who represents the Headland and Harbour ward, has praised officers at Hartlepool Borough Council for their efforts in securing funding.
The total cost of the scheme will be about £4.3m, £3.5m of which is being funded by the Environment Agency.
Hartlepool Borough Council and Northumbrian Water will provide the rest of the funding.
The first phase involves excavating beach sand to a maximum depth of around 15ft and replacing it with a stone platform which will be buried underneath the beach.
This stone foundation will be allowed to settle over the winter.
Then in April next year, construction work will start on the sea wall itself and that is expected to take about eight months.
The second phase of work was unanimously approved this week by the council’s planning committee.
Speaking at the meeting, Coun Payne said: “I want to praise the unbelievable work that the engineering department does in securing the funding.
“We have a department there that is really good at getting the money in.
“They should be commended for that.”
The construction phase will see the beach and promenade closed to the public during the works, but only on a temporary basis.
Planning officers say the work will help improve public access.
A report to the meeting said: “Construction is anticipated to begin in April 2013, although facilitating works upon the beach have already begun.
“Works are to be complete by November 2013.
“Public access will be restricted along the promenade during construction of the various sections of the works with appropriate diversions in place.”
Mayor Stuart Drummond has previously welcomed the next phase of work and said the defence upgrade is progressing well.