Work on the £12million Exmouth Tidal Defence Scheme has been paused for its summer break – with the project now two-thirds complete.
The Environment Agency (EA) has removed most of the construction areas from the town and the road along the seafront is now open.
Once completed in 2021, the project will reduce the risk to more than 1,400 residential and 400 commercial properties.
Construction started in June 2019.
A section around the Alexandra Terrace junction and associated highways improvements, flood gate installation, landscaping and planting is due to be finished later this year.
The scheme will reduce the current one in 25 years flood risk – a four per cent chance in any year – to one in 200 years – a 0.5 per cent annually.
So far, a 660-metre-long wall has been built from the boatyard to the Imperial Recreation Ground.
Contractors worked during low tides to repair the revetment from the nature reserve to the Estuary View car park.
A large area of the nature reserve has also been cleared of vegetation to create a continuous flood defence embankment which will be seeded this autumn.
At Camperdown Creek, new gabions – large metal baskets filled with stone – have been replaced with new sheet-piled defences clad with recycled hardwood timber.
The foundations have also been built for three flood gates.
The Esplanade area from The Grove pub, including Morton Crescent and the Imperial Hotel, has had new defences built.
This work has included a combination of flood walls, new drainage, wall strengthening, rock armour installation and landscaping.
EA flood manager Ben Johnstone said: “We are now one step closer to a finished tidal defence scheme for the people of Exmouth.
“I am extremely proud of the team who have worked so hard to keep this vital work on track whilst adhering to government guidance on coronavirus.
“I would also like to thank residents for their understanding and cooperation which has helped us get to this point. A lot has been achieved this year and I look forward to the next phase.”
East Devon District Council is also contributing to the project and will maintain the defences built on council-owned land in the future.
Councillor Geoff Jung, portfolio holder for coast, countryside and environment, said: “I would like to thank the contractors Kier and the Environment Agency for continuing this important project at this most difficult of times.
“This scheme, once completed, will provide the many residents of Exmouth extra protection from coastal flooding.”
Exmouth Town ward members Cllrs Olly Davey, Joe Whibley and Eileen Wragg added in a joint statement: “With more than two-thirds of the scheme completed…Exmouth will have much better protection ahead of the winter storms.”
Work is scheduled to avoid disruption to winter birds on the estuary and the summer holidays on the seafront. It is due to be completed next year.