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News article created on 22 July 2015

Tees Barrage secrets unveiled

Vital maintenance work is underway to four massive 50 tonne ‘fish belly’ gates which control the Tees Barrage as part of a £100,000 project.

As part of the repairs, we are holding a special open day giving members of the public the chance to explore around the structure and delve 40 feet into one of the drained gate wells to see the inner workings up close.

Visitors will be able to see the massive hydraulic rams, learn about fish migration, get rare access into the control tower and discover more about the world-renowned white water course.

Walk on the Tees river bed

A 100 tonne crane will be used to install temporary dams either side of each gate well before removing the water to inspect the gate seals, walls, floor and pivot points, as well as checking the steelwork for damage. Pressure tests will also be carried out on the gates and any corroded components replaced.

Lee Butler, team leader at the Tees Barrage says: “This is a fantastic opportunity for us to give people a rare behind the scenes look at our maintenance work and walk onto the Tees’ river bed – it’s not often you get to say that! The event is open to everyone and they’ll get to learn about how we operate it, the rich ecology in the area as well as exclusive access into the control tower and gate well.”

At the time of its construction 20 years ago, the Tees Barrage was considered the largest civil engineering project in the UK and not only controls the flow of the river but also plays a vital role in preventing the area from flooding.

Largest civil engineering project in the UK

Completion of the Tees Barrage in 1995 created an exciting new wetland sports and leisure area for Teesside. Now, visitors are seen every day windsurfing, water-skiing, white water rafting, sailing, rowing, angling and even powerboat racing.

The event will be held on Saturday 22 August between 10-4pm. No pre-booking is required and visitors will join tours on a first come, first served basis.