FDOT places devices to prevent erosion by Skyway Bridge

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 5:44 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2023 at 9:49 PM EDT
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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - FDOT started placing Wave Attenuation Devices in the water by the South Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier. The concrete structures dissipate wave energy and provide an environmentally safe solution to erosion.

The project is costing $6.3 million with a total of 844 units being placed in two to three months. FDOT District 1 Drainage Design Engineer, Brent Setchell, said the project is necessary.

“We knew we needed a break water out there. So, the problem was, was that traditional break water using rubble, rip-wrap, or the large boulders because of the deeper waters, the foot print would’ve been too large and too costly to construct. So, that’s why we came up with an innovative approach of going with the wave attenuation devices,” says Setchell.

Setchell also said that the devices will increase protection during hurricanes.

“We all saw the devastation from Hurricane Ian. I witnessed it first hand down in Sana-Bell and pine island and knowing the extreme forces that hurricane winds produce these wave attenuation devices will really help the coastline here with resiliency,” says Setchell.

FDOT District 1 Environmental Permits Coordinator, Nicole Monies, said the devices will help increase seagrass growth and increase water clarity. She also said sea life will benefit, and the public who come out to visit.

“They are going to be able to see a lot of different animals like the Florida manatee, snook, redfish, even some of the shellfish and so these seagrasses really do provide a wonderful habitat for these creatures,” says Monies.

In a press release from FDOT, it said people driving by can expect to see calm waters past the devices even on windy and heavy wave days.