Ferrovial On the Road with Ferrovial. José Manuel Ballester

A new breakwater for an old port

Bilbao , Spain

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Rivers were the highways of the past – ports, centers of commerce, and channels of communication.

On the banks of the Nervión, the history of the river, the estuary, the port, and the city of Bilbao are so intertwined that it’s hard to make out their origins. Even so, it is known that Bilbao’s first docks are at least 700 years old. Since then, the comings and goings of ships, goods, and passengers have been constant and uninterrupted.

The project was carried out by Ferrovial from 2016 to 2019. It consisted of manufacturing 26 large 46-meter-long reinforced concrete caissons on-site, creating the esplanade under the blocks, and building an 80,000-cubic-meter breakwater and a 68,000-cubic-meter dredging of seabed to cement the caissons.

Fabricación in situ de 26 grandes cajones de hormigón armado de 46 metros de eslora.

For centuries, the port and city of Bilbao shared space on the banks of the Nervión River several kilometers inland, with the river almost becoming an estuary close to its mouth at the Cantabrian Sea. But at the end of the 1980s, a new project began to take root. During the following years, the port would come to life and move, hugging the place where the estuary ended and the sea began in the municipalities of Santurce, Ciérvana and Guecho – what is known as the “Abra Exterior” to locals.

Since then, the port, now far from the city, hasn’t stopped growing. It’s actually become the most important in the north of the Iberian Peninsula and one of the most important in Spain. Since the first stone of the Abra Exterior was laid in 1992, it’s been one construction project after another. One of the last extensions required building a large central breakwater measuring one kilometer in length, which added 200,000 square meters of surface to the dock.

The Port, Bilbao (Spain)

The Port, Bilbao (Spain)

  • Spain
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