To make the access to the port of Ostend safer and allow for larger vessels to call at the port, the Flemish government decided to widen and straighthen the fairway.
This required the construction of two new breakwaters into the sea and the dredging of a new channel. Besides the port entrance protection, two other objectives were aimed at the same time: the new breakwaters were designed to improve the Ostend Centre coastal defences; and they were due to increase port capacity. The new breakwaters made the port more easily accessible for vessels with a length of up to 200 m, instead of the 150 to 160 m in the past.
The two breakwaters are built by using a mix of the ‘wet’ and the ‘dry’ construction method. They have a design height of 6 m TAW, allowing for extension to 8 m TAW in the future.
The eastern breakwater stretches to 783 m deep into the sea, until roundhead centre; the western pier extends to 694 m into the sea.
The structure of the breakwater consists of a bottom of fascine mattresses, upon which the dike body was constructed. Concrete HARO-blocks are put on the seaward side for the protection of the breakwaters.
A total of 810,000 tonnes of quarry rock, 140,000 tonnes of sea gravel, and 105,000 m² of fascine mattresses were used for the construction of the breakwaters.