Welches Beach Improvements Project
Welches beach is located at Welches in Christ Church on the south coast of Highway 7, approximately 0.5km west of Oistins. The main road in this section is immediately adjacent to the sea at Welches and prior to construction of the project, was exposed to wave action and flooding during storm events. Flooding of the road was hazardous to motorists, and made walking along the road difficult or impossible at times. It was believed that continued exposure of the road to wave action was likely to result in the road being undermined.The Welches Beach Improvement Project was designed to provides a solution to tbis problem. The Welches Beach Improvement was assigned a construction budget of US$1.5 million and a priority ranking of three within the Coastal Infrastructure Programme.
The Welches Beach Improvement Project was designed to widen the existing beach, thereby providing an improved level of protection from flooding for the section of Highway 7 adjacent to the beach. The project extent was limited to the areas where the road currently floods during storm events. There was a beach at this site which was quite narrow and wasn't heavily used, it was believed that a widening of the beach would lead to the it being more heavily trafficed. It was therefore decided that the project should address the provision of improved amenities to beach users. Additionally, there was landscaping to replace coastal vegetation damaged or lost during previous construction activities.The specific objectives of the project were:
- To reduce overtopping of the seawall and flooding of the roadway;
- To provide an improved beach amenity
Project Design Components
The project comprised the following:
- Beach nourishment (8000 cubic metres of sand was brought to the site)
- Construction of a spur and a revetment at the western end of the project site
- Reconstruction of a groyne at the western end of the the project site
- Construction of a groyne in the centre of the project site
- Construction of a spur and a revetment at the eastern end of the project site
- New east and west public access points including a ramp for physically challenged individuals to reach the beach
- Public walkway and overlook in the centre of the beach for improved access
Construction of the Project
The contract for construction of the project was awarded to Capital Signal Company Limited in July 2005. Construction was completed, within budget, in February 2006. A 40 m breakwater spur was constructed, extending from the coastal cliff at Cachel. The breakwater was designed to protect the roadway from the waves that ran along the sea cliff at Cachel. The beach inshore of the breakwater was pre-filled with 2,000 m3 of sand to ensure that the new shoreline structure did not trap sand resulting in the starvation of the downdrift beaches.
The existing groyne at the west end of Welches Beach was reconstructed and extended by 10 m to increase the beach width at the west end of Welches by approximately the same amount. The beach east of the groyne was pre-filled with 2,000 m3 of sand.
A new 80 m long shore-connected breakwater was constructed at the east end of Welches Beach. The beach was then pre-filled with 5,000 m3 of sand.
A concrete outlook was constructed immediately adjacent to the seawall. The outlook was 30 m in length and extended 10 m seaward. A ramp was constructed on the outlook to make the site accessible to the physically challenged. The outlook was later landscaped to help improve its aesthetics. Two sets of steps were constructed to provide additional access to the beach at the east and west ends of the “window to the sea”. During construction, water quality and beach profile monitoring programmes were undertaken.
Results of Project
The works at this site have resulted in a wider, more stable beach with some sand building up to the east (updrift side). There has been no erosion observed on the downdrfit side of the site, indicating that sediment (sand) is passing around the structures and sediment transport pathways have not been interrupted by the beach enhancement works. Since the project has been completed there have been no reported incidents of the seawall being overtopped or the roadway being flooded. It In other words, the effects of this project have been positive and limited to this section of coastline.