Dover Western Docks Revival – Transforming Dover's waterfront

Dover Western Docks Revival – Transforming Dover's waterfront

The Dover Western Docks Revival was the single biggest investment ever undertaken by the Port of Dover. Best known for its cross channel ferry services, which operate from the Eastern Docks, the Port authorities wanted to develop and refurbish its western docks to create a new cargo terminal and distribution centre. The objective of the project was to free up greater space within the Eastern Docks for ferry traffic.


The client also recognised the transformative effect the development could potentially have and subsequently sought to create a waterfront marina and pier destination to ultimately attract a host of shops, bars, cafes and restaurants with Dover's unique backdrop of the harbour, cliffs and castle; and much-needed employment opportunities for local people.

What we did

We designed and constructed two new Berths (A and C), a 550m-long marina pier and a new marina. We also repurposed existing infrastructure to create a new navigable entrance to Wellington Dock and carried out substantial repairs to the Prince of Wales Pier.

Our team demonstrated a wide range of marine and landside engineering skills to successfully complete the works, including marine piling, dredging, anchor walls, heavy lifts of prefabricated components, demolition, cofferdams, huge concrete pours, bridge installations and new mechanical and electrical services.

The new Berths were constructed using floating plant. Our dredging partner removed 1,175,000m3 of silt and overburden from reclaimed areas and imported 950,000m3 of hydraulically placed fill behind the new quay walls.

We built the new 550m-long marina pier with 360 precast concrete units sitting atop tubular piles. Linked to the promenade, the pier is an attractive public amenity at the heart of the new development. Our project team also created a 120m-long, 20m-wide and 18m-deep navigation channel to provide access to Wellington Dock and sealed a temporary cofferdam against an existing river wall built in 1842. This created a safe environment to excavate the channel and pour 10,000m3 of concrete to form the walls. The team then installed two 65t sector gates to control water levels and a bascule bridge to provide continued pedestrian and vehicle access across the channel.

Project successes

By delivering innovative solutions the team won a Marine and Coastal Civil Engineering Expo innovation award for the bespoke ‘crawling’ piling gate. The gate glided forward autonomously from the crane and hydraulically adjusted its position to prepare for the next pile. We installed up to ten piles per day, as opposed to the three per day we could have driven using a traditional piling gate that would need to be repositioned manually. 

While excavating the channel, we discovered a 17th-century sea wall. Given the historical importance of this discovery, our team uncovered, laser scanned and removed it to be displayed at a local museum. In addition, we discovered two mammoth teeth and numerous aged wooden structures which have now been handed over to our client for preservation measures.

The Dover Western Docks revival project has been a significant achievement for VolkerStevin.  In recognition of our exemplary work we have subsequently won a Considerate Constructors Scheme Gold Award and a CEEQUAL Whole Team Excellent Award. A key reason for this was the 1600 hours our people spent volunteering and the £50k we invested in local initiatives.