The Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers will be significantly larger than any vessel that currently uses Portsmouth Harbour. Boskalis Westminster will dredge the approach channel, inner harbour area and berth pocket, making these deep and wide enough for the new ships.
In all around 3 million cubic metres of clay, sand and gravel will be removed from the harbour. Dredging works are planned to start in late autumn, using trailing suction hopper dredgers and backhoe dredgers, and will be carried out to ensure the work meets stringent environmental requirements.
The dredging work is due to be complete by summer 2016.
DIO project manager Paul Simmonds said:
This is a good example of DIO delivering for defence. DIO is delivering vital infrastructure to prepare for the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth Carriers in Portsmouth. This work helps provide the armed forces with the capabilities they need to maintain Britain’s security in an ever changing world.
DIO has worked closely with our Royal Navy customers to ensure this work will be carried out in the most cost effective way, taking into account the local marine environment, without impacting on the existing operations at HMNB Portsmouth.
Along with the £51 million jetty upgrade works we announced earlier this year, provision of high voltage power for the ships when berthed, installation of navigational aids within the channel and the design and production of QEC specific gangways, this contract forms part of a £100 million investment to transform Portsmouth Harbour into a state of the art home for HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.