MILAN, Italy, July 17, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In the "underwater" construction site of the New Breakwater in Genoa, an important new phase of work is underway to consolidate the seabed. In the area identified as Test Area 1, the first gravel columns that will guarantee stability to the base on which the future barrier will rest have taken shape. The columns to be built are 70,000 and will run along the entire perimeter of the new dam. To date, approximately 100 columns have already been constructed. Within the first month, approximately 850 will be constructed, with the aim of completing them all within the next 17 months.
At the same time, the work of laying gravel on the seabed continues at full pace, where about 185,000 tonnes of material have already been laid, using a 3,600-tonne capacity ship and two smaller pontoons with a total capacity of about 700 tonnes, which carry an average of 3,000 tonnes of gravel per day and have already made a total of about 90 round trips, starting from Piombino and Genoa.
The New Breakwater is being built by the PERGENOVA BREAKWATER consortium, led by Webuild in cooperation with Fincantieri Infrastructure Opere Marittime, Fincosit and Sidra, while Rina is in charge of project management consulting. The work was commissioned by the Western Ligurian Sea Port System Authority. For the construction of the dam, which will also benefit from PNRR funding, it is estimated that one thousand people will be employed, including direct personnel and third parties.
The gravel columns will be built using an innovative technique known as the “Wet Top Feed – Blanket Method”. The technique involves the use of a vibrating probe, the vibroflot, a kind of needle between 17 and 21 metres long. The probe, attached to 40-metre-high cranes positioned on floating platforms, the pontoons, is brought to the seabed on which a layer of gravel thick enough to accommodate columns over 13 metres high has previously been placed. By vibrating and using combined water and air jets, the probe penetrates the ground and creates a tubular-shaped space into which the surrounding gravel material gradually slides. As the gravel slides, the future column takes shape and is progressively compacted.
The New Breakwater, the largest intervention ever carried out for the enhancement of Italy’s ports, is a barrier whose main task will be to protect the port of Genoa from wave motion. A unique work of its kind in engineering terms, in its final configuration it will be 6,200 metres long and will replace the existing breakwater, but will be positioned at a distance from the quay that will allow access to the port even for modern ships defined as "Ultra large", which today suffer from limitations due to the reduced room for manoeuvre.
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