15 January 2021

First X-blocks embedded at the Eastern Breakwater

The new year brought further progress at the construction site of the shipping channel made through the Vistula Spit. At the Eastern Breakwater, within its outer and inner parts, there were first X-blocks plus embedded, which are to strengthen all the structure. The construction site at the Vistula Spit is the first one in Poland and the second in Europe where this unique wave protection technology has been applied.

– As a target it is planned to embed 10,144 pcs. of such specific concrete blocks in three different sizes, weighing between 2.34 and 9.6 tonnes each  says Jacek Szymański, Project Director at the NDI/Besix consortium. The application of such concrete blocks reduces the amount of precast shielding structures made of concrete used at the breakwaters. Their construction time is also reduced while resistance to weather conditions – increased. They were used for the first time at the Afsluitdijk Shield Dam, which is the major dam and levee in the Netherlands. Thus, our structure will be the second of its kind in Europe and all over the world– adds Jacek Szymański.

Works at the emerging breakwaters also cover rip-raping along the onshore part of the Western Breakwater and pile-driving operations on both structures. At the Western Breakwater, a pile cap of the onshore part and the main slab are under concreting.

– In spite of the wintertime and epidemiological restrictions, works at the digging through the Vistula Spit move on smoothly. And that is good news. The construction of the shipping channel from the Gulf of Gdańsk to the Vistula Lagoon is an investment of strategic importance, and the government is determined to make it complete by the specified deadline, said the Minister of Infrastructure Andrzej Adamczyk.

The shield port in the Bay of Gdańsk has being gradually dredged.

Then, within the shipping channel, at the southern gate of the lock, CFA (continuous flight auger) piling was completed. As for digging itself, a large number of ditches (1.947 M m3) and embankments (130 k m3) were made. Within the area of the lock, a line of below-sea-level ditches (59 k m3) were also made.

Works aimed to strengthen such ditch slopes, cover them with humus and seed with grass are complete in more than 80%. Similarly, works on soil bedding structures are also at an advanced level.

Steel structures of the bridges are under assemblage; on the southern bridge, which is in a more developed condition, mechanical and hydraulic components have already been installed. Works on the envelope around the artificial island are completed in more than 55% with its cribs still mounted and cofferdam backfilled.

– Since mid-2020, the Contractor has very effectively taken advantage of favourable weather conditions, which has resulted in making “time reserves” and running works ahead of schedule. In the winter season it provides us with more comfort in running our operations, however, we still take maximum advantage of each and every “weather window” coming along, Wiesław Piotrzkowski, Master Mariner and Director of the Maritime Office in Gdynia.

In the coming weeks, we will work on installing more X-blocks and starting rip-rap operations at the Western Breakwater bulkhead. Reinforced concrete works will also be run on both breakwaters. More ditches will be made within the shipping channel and the lock area. Reinforced concreate works will also be continued at the lock. Further works will be made within the entire project area, including at both bridges and construction of the artificial island, the bulkhead of which is protected against winter conditions.

The transport of hydrotechnical stone from Scandinavia (which will be made via the Gulf of Gdańsk) will start, together with some works conducted to prepare a loading quay with stone storage yards in the Port of Elbląg. The first deliveries of such stone to the warehousing facilities are also planned.

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