The construction of breakwaters is an ancient practice to hold back rough seas, in order to create a quiet harbor or reduce shore erosion. Modern technology has replaced the haphazard piling of rocks in the sea with a precise engineering process for long-term stability and durability.
Today, each stone in a breakwater is precisely placed with cranes and tugboats; size, shape and tensile strength are taken into account, with the data recorded and monitored. Divers check the positioning of each stone by GPS, followed by underwater tests for stability.
The newest breakwater in Haifa Port, commissioned in 2010, was designed using the latest technologies under the expert guidance of Shapir’s marine engineers. The Haifa Port Polinom Project calls for a composite structure of a main breakwater reaching to depths of 10-12 meters, a secondary breakwater and an access ramp.
The main breakwater is a multi-layered stone wall running for 854 meters, with east and west heads. It has an additional reinforcement of concrete antifer blocks (with a volume of 5.5m2 each) in a double row on the west head and a triple row on the east head. The position of each block was mapped on a precise layout grid.
The secondary breakwater, measuring 328 meters, also faces east-west around 200-400 meters away from the first structure. It resembles the main breakwater in composition, except that the external layer is stone. The access ramp and the Dupont reorganization area are constructed from a stone core.
The tender specified the highest level of international quality assurance and approval by the Israel Standards Institute. Since these qualifications are hallmarks of Shapir performance, it was natural for the company to receive the contract.
The responsibilities: project organization and clearance, excavation, maintenance and disassembly of marking buoys, supply and placement of the stones and blocks, together with precautions taken to minimize environmental impact at every stage.