Beach restoration works completed in Valencia, Spain

Van Oord's recently completed beach restoration in Valencia, Spain
Photo: Van Oord

Van Oord recently completed one of the largest beach restoration projects in Spain’s history, restoring the beaches south of the city of Valencia to their original size.

The beaches have been slowly eroding since 1965. The Spanish government contracted the joint venture of Van Oord subsidiary Dravo and Rover Maritime to restore seven kilometres of coastline and to extend two breakwaters to reduce erosion.

Van Oord deployed the large trailing suction hopper dredger HAM 318 to apply 3.3 million cubic metres of sand, extending the beaches up to 150 metres wide. The dredged material was pumped ashore over a distance of 1.8 kilometres using a combination of floating and submerged pipelines.

Van Oord said the widened beaches will now be able to better protect low-lying coastal communities, agricultural areas, and the Albufera National Park, separating its fresh water from the salt water of the Mediterranean Sea.

Another part of the project was restoration of the dunes. A combination of sand, strategically placed sand collectors, and newly planted vegetation form the basis of the new dunes.

The sand collectors, made from a local type of cordgrass, are placed in squares to trap sand blown along by the wind. Within those squares, the newly planted vegetation will firm up the forming dunes.

In total, 75.5 kilometres of sand collectors and 44,000 plants were placed to contribute to the overall ecological fortification of the area. The aim is not only to safeguard the natural environment, but also to enhance its ecological resilience.

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