Breakwaters are structures constructed on coasts as part of coastal defense or to protect an anchorage from the effects of both weather and long shore drifts. Breakwaters reduce the intensity of wave action in inshore waters and thereby reduce coastal erosion or provide safe harbor for all types of marine craft.
The Long Beach breakwater was built as a part of the deep-water port project. The construction of the San Pedro and Middle Breakwaters started in 1899 and 1932, and completed in 1912 and 1942 respectively. The construction of the Long Beach Breakwater started in 1941, but was halted in 1943 due to WWII. Construction was resumed in 1946, and completed in 1949. The U.S. Navy moved in to the port of Long Beach in 1940 and used the breakwaters for military purposes.
The massive rocks that made up the 2.2-mile-long Long Beach breakwater were shipped from Catalina Island to create the World War II barrier that protected the Pacific Fleet.
Over the years, the Long Beach breakwater has been exposed to a number of large storms that have severely damaged the breakwater in several areas. The Army Corps of Engineers has been assigned the responsibility of maintaining the breakwater and repairing storm damage. Connolly-Pacific Co. was awarded a $5 million contract by the U.S. Army on Sept. 18, 2017. Repair work began on October 8, 2017.
Repairs on the Middle Breakwater, which was damaged by “heavy waves” hitting them during Hurricane Marie, are expected to be completed by late December 2017, barring unforeseen circumstances.
The contract authorized work to be done within 90 days. Repairs are being made to the 12 most severely damaged sections of the three breakwaters damaged by heavy seas from Hurricane Marie, according to the Army Corps.
Between 20,000 and 30,000 tons of rock acquired from Catalina Island’s Pebbly Beach quarry were expected to be used to fill gaps in areas most damaged by Hurricane Marie. Each rock weighs between 8 and 15 tons. While each breakwater was still functional after the hurricane, the functionality would decrease with each significant wave or storm event in the area.
According to the Army Corps, the Middle Breakwater is about 18,500 feet long and serves as a major structure that protects the Port of Long Beach. An estimated 1,550 feet of breakwater suffered major damage, with another 850 feet significantly damaged. About 1,725 feet of breakwater is moderately damaged.
Pro-Cast Products, Inc. made an introductory sales call on Connolly-Pacific to identify any potential, future opportunities. At that time, Connolly-Pacific was working in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers to design, build and install a series of concrete stairways placed at regular intervals along the entire breakwater. The intent of these stairways was to allow inspectors to safely access the breakwater to inspect the integrity of the structure.
Connolly-Pacific discussed this opportunity with the Pro-Cast’s sales rep and provided him with set of conceptual drawings. The design/engineering team at Pro-Cast studied the conceptual plans and contacted one of their partners (RediStair) to come up with a design that could be presented to CP and the Corps for review and approval. Eventually, the plans were approved, a PO was issued and production began on a single, test stairway. Once the test unit was delivered, CP installed it and approval for an additional 16 stairways was issued. Each stairway is positioned at approximately 1,000ft intervals the entire length of the breakwater providing safe and easy access for the inspection team.
Below is a short video on how these precast concrete stairways were easily installed at the breakwater.
This is yet another example of how the Pro-Cast Products’ sales/design/engineering team worked closely with the customer to develop a cost-effective solution that was delivered on time and within budget.
Author: Don Bailey, Sales Representative