Tees Barrage Project

British Waterways / J N Bentley Teesside Whitewater course upgrade

Project Background

The existing white water course was originally opened in 1994 and at the time it was considered to be exciting and pioneering. Since the
opening date of the course, slalom canoeing and the technical requirements of courses have advanced as well as the requirements of other disciplines such as freestyle kayaking.

Deficiencies in the current course are driving factors in the needs for a course upgrade. Examples of existing deficiencies are the lack of
depth and variation in water features which have a direct impact on its appeal and the existing channel obstacle system which is dated and thus requires upgrading.

The existing course operates by utilising the differential head available between the impounded water level upstream of the barrage and the tidal level downstream. Hence the time in which the course can operate is controlled entirely by the tidal cycle; thus the course is limited and operates at a different time each day.

The aims of the upgrade are to provide a modern and sustainable course enabling world class competitive training (Olympic Training Camp)and events for paddle sport. In addition, the upgrade will ensure revenue generating activities can be undertaken without restriction, at the same time as recreational/competitive paddle sport thus alleviating the reliance upon tidal cycles.

Primary Objectives

The aims of the upgrade are to provide a modern course allowing world class competitive training (Olympic Training Camp) and events for
paddle sport. In addition, the upgrade will allow revenue generating activities to be undertaken at the same time as recreational / competitive paddle sport and alleviate the tidal influence over the operation of the course.

Process Overview

The course at present is sparsely used as a result of the tidal movements of the River Tees. The project involves the design, supply and installation of 4 No electrically driven Archimedes screw pumps which will enable the course to be used without dependence on tidal movements.

The screw pumps in normal operation will maintain the water flow around the course. When not in use the screw pumps will be reversed in operation and using the tidal effects of the River Tees generate electricity.

Additional to the above the project involves the design, supply and installation of an electrically driven canoe conveyor belt system to further enhance the use of the course and modification to the existing hydraulic gate system to provide control of the gate for the new short course.

The new canoe conveyor, screw pumps and associated penstocks will be controlled by a new PLC (PLC3) housed in the North Pavilion basement switch room.

The modified hydraulic control gates will be controlled from the new PLC 3 and both systems will be monitored and controlled via the existing SCADA system which will be modified by others to provide the necessary operator interface and controls.

Idec's scope of supply for the work detailed above is as follows:

  • Supply of the new Mitsubishi PLC3 and HMI hardware built into a self contained wall mountable enclosure
  • Configuration of Mitsubishi PLC3 to provide control based on the approved Functional Specification
  • Removal of redundant code in PLC1/2 for bear gate
  • Provision of drawings and documentation as detailed
  • Factory Acceptance Testing
  • Site Acceptance Testing and Commissioning support
  • Design and specification of the interface cables from PLC3 to starter compartments and field mounted equipment


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