In January 2014 Boskalis Westminster (BWL) were awarded the contract to undertake the design and construction of the new detached breakwater on behalf of Cowes Harbour Commissioners, at Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Construction of the 350 metre long detached rock armoured breakwater that will protect existing homes, businesses and harbour users and that enables the continued regeneration of East Cowes and the further economic benefits that brings to the Island. The first phase of transforming Cowes into a sheltered harbour and creating a variety of development and business opportunities for East Cowes, Cowes and other Island stakeholders was carried out in February 2014.
The construction of the new breakwater was carried out in two phases, the first being the creation of the core structure of the breakwater which commenced in Spring 2014.
The core was constructed by placing a base layer of coarse gravel followed by the installation of the vertical drains. A geotextile membrane was then placed to cover the footprint of the breakwater and then more sand and gravel was placed to build up the core.
After Cowes Week closed, BWL continued installing the breakwater’s gravel core up to between 4 and 5 metres above chart datum, using a trailing suction hopper dredger, floating pipeline and spraying pontoon. When the crest of the breakwater became visible above the water surface, the spraying pontoon was utilised to spray gravel against the slopes of the breakwater. The gravel was left to consolidate for one month prior to being raised up to 5 metres above chart datum along the whole length of the breakwater.