(May 9, 2014) Work is scheduled to begin next week on a new sea wall at the resort’s southern border, with the new structure to essentially be constructed on top of the old.
Contractors from Coastal Gunite Construction, hired by the Army Corps of Engineers, will be conducting the project as part of this year’s phase of beach replenishment, which covers not only the restoration of dunes on the resort’s coastline, but also other storm protection features such as the seawalls.
“We’re building a new wall and tying it into the old one,” said John Becker of Coastal Gunite. “Right now it looks like we’ll be starting next week and gong into early June.”
Becker’s crew will begin by building platforms adjacent to the current seawall which protects the southern tip of town from the waters of the inlet. The platforms will provide space to attach a plastic and fiberglass framework to the existing wall. Concrete will then be sprayed onto the framework using the so-called “shotcrete” method.
“Instead of putting up forms and pouring it, we place it pneumatically,” Becker said. “This way it should only take us a couple weeks, four at the most.”
The older part of the wall, stretching back toward the bay, dates to the 1960’s, Becker said. It has probably been in need of repair for some years given extensive cracking and peeling.
“The way we build things now, there’s no reason to expect that what we’re putting in won’t last for a very, very long time,” Becker said.
Coastal Gunite will only be working on select days through the week, per the city’s Public Works Department, in order to avoid obstructing access to the inlet parking lot at peak times.
The shotcrete method is common in marine work where adjacent water would make pouring difficult. The method also has relatively little impact on the environment, Becker said.
“Our work platform kind of builds it into a box. It catches what we remove from the existing wall and what would be waste shotcrete,” Becker said. “But it’s just concrete – people build artificial reefs out of it all the time, so it’s not an environmental hazard anyway.”