AN ESTIMATED 200 people waited eagerly for the opening of the £80million Dawlish sea wall.

After four years of construction work, the two sections of the wall were finally linked with the opening of the area around the railway station.

Engineers from contractors BAM Nuttall were delighted to see the two sections linked as they opened the barriers to the public.

A new accessible walkway above the underpass means wheelchair users and families with pushchairs can also access the walkway and the beach.

Ahead of the opening, the team of engineers was greeted earlier in the morning by a seal and some dolphins visible in the sea near the Colonnade. 

The opening means the beach is now accessible again and walkers can join the new promenade by using the ramp or steps at Colonnade underpass or by crossing the new link bridge from King’s Walk. 

Alternatively, it can be joined at Coastguards footbridge.

Children from a school in Exeter joined the walkers crossing the new link for the first time.

The public were also able to enjoy the new public seating area around the stilling basin where Dawlish Water runs into the sea. 

Now, the 415m length of the new promenade is open to everyone. 

Stretching between Coastguards and Colonnade breakwaters, it is linked to the first section at Marine Parade by a new footbridge, running parallel to the railway viaduct.

Yan Sayles, from contractor Bam Nuttall, said: ‘We’ve been working for four years constructing the sea wall and overall, it’s been very positive.

‘Lots of people in the town have been talking to us and are excited for it to open.

‘The team here have done an outstanding job and I’d like to thank the people of Dawlish and everyone involved in the scheme.’