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The Thames Barrier

The Thames barrier - a Grand structure that protects London from flooding. In the XX century floods with casualties upon the British capital twice, in 1928 and in 1953. The British decided that to endure the rage of the elements is no longer possible.

For centuries London was vulnerable to flooding that occurred due to storm surge from the North sea. In such cases, upon the sea moves a tidal wave, which increases pressure in the English channel, then the Thames estuary. The spring surge may coincide with seasonal high water, and it certainly means the flooding of London.

After the floods of 1953 that killed 307 people, society agreed on the need for a protective barrier. In the area of risk lay 340 square kilometres of land with half a million buildings, nearly a hundred railway stations. Lived here for 1.25 million people. The potential damage from the catastrophic floods was estimated at the enormous sum of 30 billion pounds.

In 1972 it was decided to build the Barrier. His concept was proposed by the engineer Charles Reginald Draper. In 1950, eighteen boys he built a working model using the principle of ordinary brass gas valve. Testing has proven the reliability and efficiency of the design.

8 may 1984 by Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Thames Barrier. It covers the river with a width of 520 meters: futuristic sparkling buildings, each five stories tall with, divide the stream into four segment 61 metre and two navigable span of 30 meters. In these openings, a steel rotating segments at the usual time lying on the bottom of the river. If necessary, the segments weighing 3700 tons synchronously rotated 90 degrees, securely cover the course.

Time has shown that the Barrier is vital to London: the frequency of floods is growing all the time. For the first five years the building was used only four times. But only in 2001 it had to raise 15 times, in 2003, 19 times in 2007 - 11. It is estimated that by 2050, a protective structure will be switched up to 75 times a year.

To see the Barrier come the crowds. In the small Center of education and information show a working model of the structure. With some luck you can see the work and the Barrier - it is checked once a month.

On the North Bank of the Thames to the construction of the adjacent Park Thames Barrier is a good example of the renovation of blighted areas. Before here at Royal docks, there was a "dirty" production of railway sleepers and Telegraph poles. In 1994 adopted a plan to transform the site into one of the best green places in London, announced the international competition. And already in 2000 there was opened a magnificent Park with fountains, gardens, groves and flower meadows.