Engineers consider building retaining wall near Drop Off
February 14, 2014

Engineers consider building retaining wall near Drop Off

Local engineers are considering a sea retaining wall along the country’s north eastern coastline, as strong waves batter the area.{{more}}

In the meantime, boulders are being placed as a temporary fix, in the vicinity of “Drop Off”, in the village of Sans Souci, as it began experiencing the effects of the waves last weekend.

Chief engineer Brent Bailey told SEARCHLIGHT that the coastline (from Fancy to Argyle in the vicinity of the international airport), is being affected by ‘“seasonal winter ground swells”, caused by North Atlantic cold fronts moving down from North America, and that a long-term solution is being explored that would protect the vulnerable embankments from the current waves, and even more serious weather patterns.

Seasonal winter ground swells affect the coast annually from December to May each year, and may be prolonged, given the extremely cold weather crippling parts of the southern United States.

Bailey indicated that a specially built structure in the area would prevent future damage, like what is being experienced currently.

“It’s a coastal zone revetment system; it is a sea retaining wall, basically rubble boulders properly packed with geo-fabric, as opposed to dumped in place. It is an engineered system, as opposed to a temporary mitigation system.”

When SEARCHLIGHT visited the area on Wednesday, workers of the Roads, Bridges, and General Services Authority (BRAGSA) were busy placing boulders over the embankment, in an effort to reduce the impact of the swells.

Bailey told SEARCHLIGHT that the boulders, taken from the Rabacca river, would allow for the dissipation of the waves, but would not be as effective in the event of a major storm surge, hence the need for a long-standing solution.

He pointed out that the boulders will also be placed further north of the Drop Off area, where he said there was significant undermining of the road.

“If this continues it has the potential to again disrupt our roads network,” Bailey said.

Bailey used the opportunity to caution persons using the Windward highway along the coast to be vigilant, and if they are aware of areas being impacted by the swells, to notify the Ministry of Transport and Works, BRAGSA, or NEMO (National Emergency Management Organization).

“We also require the public’s assistance; when they identify those areas that they bring it to our attention so we can assess it and see how critical it is in the whole scheme of things….” Bailey said.