IF you’ve tried to walk under the footbridge near the Civic Centre onto Swansea beach over the past few days, you may have had a double-take.
Instead of the normal sight of sand, sea and dunes, blockwork has completely filled in the underpass, off Oystermouth Road.
Swansea Council said it was carrying out the work because Oystermouth Road and low-lying Sandfields could be threatened by tidal flooding in future years as sea levels rise.
“The recent work to block up the beach underpass forms part of the council’s wider flood mitigation plans,” a spokesman for the authority said.
An alternative access to the beach has been created above the underpass, and the blockwork will be clad in stonework sympathetic to the adjacent promenate walls. The scheme has planning consent.
The council has for years installed temporary flood barriers at the underpass and at the low-level beach access at the bottom of Brynmill Lane to prevent seawater reaching the road when tidal and weather conditions give cause for concern.
Temporary flood barriers are also occasionally installed on the promenade wall in Mumbles, where a major sea defence project to raise and strengthen the structure has been given planning permission.
Meanwhile, an excavator has been scooping up large amounts of sand whipped up by storms on Swansea beach and depositing it in mounds further towards the dunes, close to the blocked-up underpass.
The council spokesman said: “This is an issue we face each year when high winds impact on the city and can lead to sand blowing over the sea wall onto the main highway along Oystermouth Road.
“Further work will take place to redistribute these piles of sand, so they appear more naturally within the beach environment.”