The enormous breakwater was constructed for the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) receipt terminal along the Pacific Coast of the Americas as part of the $875 million Energía Costa Azul project. The project was designed to help the Mexican state of Baja California meet its demand for natural gas.  AECOM was selected to provide tender and detailed design, numerical modelling, physical modelling supervision, and site supervision services for the 75m-long, 38m-wide, 25.5m-high caisson breakwater that were designed to resist a 1 in 1,000 year wave loading (i.e., a 9.2m significant wave height (17m Hmax)) and included the design and construction of a 648m-long caisson breakwater in 28m of water, founded on a rubble mound. The rubble mound was formed by the world’s only remotely operated underwater levelling machine.

This award winning project successfully demonstrated that very large caissons can be installed in relatively deep water on an exposed site for a persistent period. Further techniques for positioning a series of caissons with close tolerance narrow joints have been developed beyond current published guidelines. The design of the breakwater also used many innovative details – such as the roughened caisson base to reduce caisson width – in order to minimize the overall impact on the sensitive marine environment at the project site.

AWARDS

·      British Expertise Major Project of the Year, 2009/2010

·      Infrastructure (large firm) winner ACE, Engineering Excellence Awards, 2010