3 Cities Currently Performing Important Sea Wall Repairs

Seawalls are support devices that protect land along waterways from the constant threat of erosion and storm damage. In developed areas, this is especially important to avoid shifts in land that could damage infrastructure, such as buildings, sidewalks and park areas. Many of the seawalls were constructed as major cities first came into existence. As a result, many cities finished building their seawalls nearly 100 years ago. To make sure the old seawall components do not fail, city developers have their sights on performing repairs or replacing sections. Here are three cities focused on modern seawall development.

Seattle, Washington

The Elliot Bay seawall has been supporting the Seattle waterfront since 1934. The constant barrage of waves from the Puget Sound continually deteriorates the seawall components. Engineers warn that a serious storm or earthquake could be enough to instantly wipe out the waterfront supports. If this happens, a good portion of the waterfront piers, businesses and roads could fall into the water.  

As a result, Seattle voters decided to make seawall repairs an immediate priority by allocating $350 million in bond dollars to the project. In addition to saving the city from ruin, a new seawall design will also help support local wildlife by integrating panels with platforms and other structures that provide fish and crustaceans with new habitats.

Long Beach, California

Construction ended on the Naples seawall in Long Beach in the 1920s with additional repairs performed ten years later to fix earthquake damage. Although the original seawall components continue to support the waterfront today, water shoots or seeps through the materials during extremely high tides.

Experts examined the wall and determined it was in dire need of repairs to keep it from failing outright.  In response, the city kicked off repairs with a 10 million dollar allotment that will cover the worst of the damage. Officials must raise funds to cover repairs on the remaining 4/5ths of the seawall before an earthquake wipes out the entire structure. In addition to providing support, the improved seawall will add more access points along the shoreline for watercraft.

Bay Head, New Jersey

During the early railway days, residents built the Sea Bright seawall to protect the lines from storm damage. Unfortunately, in 2012, Hurricane Sandy ravaged that seawall and caused extensive damage. Today, the damage remains, leaving New Jersey communities exposed to future storms. City officials are making repairs to this seawall a priority as the next storm season approaches.

The $8.5 million price tag on this project will not only repair the sections damaged by the storm, but also extend the seawall into the downtown area. The expansion of the seawall will push the construction period into the late spring or early summer. Officials hope that the coming weather patterns for this storm season stay mild enough to avoid delaying or reversing construction efforts.  

Coping With The Changes

The construction of seawalls often closes businesses, roadways and sidewalks for months at a time. One of the best ways to deal with the various delays from seawall construction is to imagine all of the benefits of having a strong barrier between the land and the sea.

Seawalls keep the powerful tides from eroding land that holds up piers, commercial buildings and sidewalks near the waterline. Without seawalls, coasts could erode up to six feet per year, which would eat into recreational and commercial areas throughout your city.

Furthermore, the seawalls provide cities with protection from flooding events during natural disasters. Seawall construction may temporarily eat into your commute or leisure trips into the city, but the benefits are often well worth the cost.