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Fix for breakwater

THE repair and rebuild of the 100-year-old-plus inner breakwater at Eastland Port is set to start this week.

The project is expected to take eight months and will be completed in two stages over this summer and the next.

The inner breakwater was built from large concrete blocks designed to protect the inner harbour from big swells and waves.

It was constructed in the late 1880s. A purpose-built concrete block-making plant operated on what is now Wharf 8. The blocks were carried along a railway line and put in place using a large crane.​

“Cracks have begun to show due to wear and tear of the structure,” said Eastland Port asset manager Jamie Gallacher.

“Temporary repairs have been done over the years, the most recent being some minor repairs in early 2018.”

The repairs and rebuild have always been planned, but the proposed extension on Wharf 8 is to be built over a portion of the inner breakwater, so the extent of the repair work has been reduced.

The Wharf 8 extension will be part of Stage 2 of the Twin Berth project, which will allow two 185-to-200-metre-long ships to berth at once.

Stage 1 covers the rebuilding of Wharf 7 and the slipway and will begin in the coming months.

A resource consent application will be lodged for Stage 2.

“Meanwhile, work on the inner breakwater will take place over the summer months when the swell and winds are more favourable,” Mr Gallacher said.

“The safety of our contractors comes first and work will not be carried out unless the conditions are right, based on daily reports from Met Ocean.

“The work will secure and strengthen the existing structure.”

It was not an easy thing to repair and it took a lot of collaboration with the port, designers and the contractors to come up with a solution.

“First we'll patch up all the cracks and voids with grout and concrete, then we'll instal steel dowel bars around the perimeter of the structure, which will provide reinforcement and extra strength to the existing inner breakwater.

“The structure will then be capped with a reinforced concrete slab using locally-sourced, non-metallic reinforcing material from Pultron.”

Gisborne's Ritchie Civil will be doing the concrete work and a specialist driller is coming from Palmerston North to instal the dowel bars.

“The final stage will be the addition of the concrete capping slab which will sit on top and securely tie everything together,” Mr Gallacher said.

“The repair work won't affect access to the harbour for boaties and the public, and people can follow Eastland Port on Facebook for updates.”

BREAKWATER BUILD: The 220 metre inner breakwater was built in the 1880s using large concrete blocks put in place by crane. The new repairs focus on a 125 metre section of the breakwater. Picture from Tairawhiti Museum
Breakwater