Azores Breakwater Repair


Baird assisted the U.S. Navy in response to a major breakwater failure protecting key US Military facilities in the Azores. Baird provided detailed assessment, design and management services from various stages of emergency repairs through a multi-year, 70 million USD permanent repair.

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US Navy - NAVFAC
Terciera, Azores, Portugal
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Terciera, Azores, Portugal

Project Highlights


The breakwater had chronic damage since its construction in 1961 as a result of severe exposure to large North Atlantic storms, with a major breach occurring in 2001. Baird provided a detailed assessment of the wave climate, and designed a “hybrid” concrete armour unit/armour stone berm breakwater repair that satisfied requirements of limited annual repair funding and long-term degradation of the breakwater over its entire length while managing risk to critical military infrastructure protected by the structure.

  • 600 meter breakwater repair
  • 950 Core-Loc® concrete armour units – 32 MT each
  • Aids to Navigation

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Project Challenges


  • Develop a permanent repair for a structure that had been damaged many times.
  • Design around a highly damaged structure with complex combinations of materials.
  • Major construction cost, with limited annual funding allocations.
  • Remote location and limited resources.

Baird Solutions


  • Developed a detailed understanding the North Atlantic wave climate and that actual wave conditions breakwater experienced.
  • Conducted a large scale physical model study at the Corps of Engineers CHL facility to evaluate and maximize the value of existing damaged structure in repair.
  • Developed an incremental design solution that could be increased season by season with minimum mobilization costs.
  • Utilized a hybrid design of local rock and concrete amour units to minimize cost and support the local economy.

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