The latest computer technology is being harnessed to safeguard the future of Blackpool’s historic Victorian piers.

Structural engineers have used 3D imaging to survey the steelwork beneath each landmark and pinpoint where maintenance needs to be carried out.

Individual computerised images have been created for North Pier, Central Pier and South Pier which capture details such as where steel is missing, and can provide accurate dimensions for where repairs are needed.


Central pier

Central pier


The work is helping bosses at The Blackpool Pier Company, which owns all three of the attractions, prioritise where investment needs to be made.

Mark Marshall, health and safety officer for the Blackpool Pier Company, said: “It means engineers can carry out a comprehensive assessment of what is needed and provide a programme of repairs and priorities.

“We still need to make physical inspections of the steelwork, but using the technology also means we have an audit trail of all the repair works.”

The 3D imaging can be updated every few years to ensure the data is current so maintenance can be scheduled more efficiently.

The next major investment in the steelwork will see three trusses being replaced at North Pier, behind the North Pier Theatre, as well as some main support beams beneath the pier.

Scaffolding will be used, but engineers will also have to prop up the theatre with temporary beams while the repairs are carried out.

Mark added: “When the piers were built by the Victorians, they were massively over-engineered by about 50 per cent.

“But the maintenance work is still very challenging, and the upcoming work at North Pier is a big job which has taken us a couple of years to schedule as we have to use specialist engineering companies.

“Having 3D surveys of each of the piers is a massive help in assessing and prioritising where the work has to be done.”

North Pier is the oldest of Blackpool’s three piers and is celebrating its 160th birthday this year, having opened in May 1863.

Central Pier was built in 1868, and boasts the famous ferris wheel, while South Pier opened in 1893 and is popular for its fairground and adrenaline style rides.