October 21, 2021
St. Augustine Construction Challenges
St. Augustine, Florida, the nation’s oldest city, is a rapidly growing destination for transplants from other states, families, and professionals alike. In fact, 2021 saw a 32.69% growth rate since the most recent census. As the area grows, so does the need for quality design and construction.
Designing for a coastal area like St. Augustine provides some unique challenges for a civil engineer. What conventional engineering considerations are needed to handle the land water integrity of your project? Read on to learn more.
Understanding Coastal Engineering
Coastal engineering involves applying conventional engineering disciplines through organization, conception, development and preservation to areas of significant interaction between land and water. These include the following, as well as any structures in these environments.
- River mouths
The purpose of coastal engineering is to improve navigation channels, protect against flooding, improve recreation and manage pollution while developing structures and transportation systems and mitigating hazards.
Coastal Construction Challenges
Coastal regions provide unique complexity for all those involved in a construction project — particularly the civil engineer. As sea levels rise and water extends further inland, it can cause harmful erosion, flooding, soil contamination and wildlife habitat loss. The sand and sediment present in coastal marine environments further complicate matters.
Some of the issues our St. Augustine civil engineers have to consider are as follows.
Coastal civil engineers are tasked with preventing erosion and protecting coastlines by designing defensive structures such as the following.
- Breakwaters – artificial harbor with basin
- Revetments – sloping structures that absorb the energy from incoming water
- Seawalls – massive structures that withstand waves and storm surges
- Groynes – rigid hydraulic structure made of wood, concrete, or stone that stops water flow and impedes sediment movement
Wetlands provide unique challenges because they are regulated by the Federal Government through the Clean Water Act. In addition, wetlands can be further protected by state and local governments, so adaptive and current knowledge of these regulations is paramount.
Further, it is crucial for an engineer to accurately discern if removing the wetlands would harm or help the project, as wetlands can sometimes be useful for stormwater mitigation, water pollution reduction, reduced erosion or recreation opportunities.
Adequately treating stormwater is important to prevent environmental damage by removing trash, debris, silt, sand, fertilizers, pesticides, chemicals, heavy metals, and oils. These contaminants can cause sedimentation and silting, disrupt ecosystems and harm the area’s natural flora and fauna. Effective stormwater treatment planning seeks to remove these pollutants before they reach a body of water.
Coastal engineering is meant to defend against storm flooding repercussions through the design and construction of thoughtful defenses. Coastal engineers reduce flooding damage risk by designing with the following considerations in mind, although this list is not all-inclusive.
- Lowest floor elevation
- Environmental aspects
- Building support
- Obstruction-free considerations
- Distance from shoreline
- Sand dune presence
- Foundation bracing
JBPro Knows the Coast
Construction in a coastal area requires specialized knowledge and expertise backed by quality results. At JBPro, we have provided superior civil engineering services since 1995 and now proudly serve North East Florida, including Jacksonville. When you have a construction build in St. Augustine, Florida, rely on the trusted JBPro engineering design group. Contact us today to talk about your project and how we can help it be successful.