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City Builds Protective Barrier Islands

When hurricanes slammed into Florida’s east central coast in 2004, the City of Fort Pierce’s marina was completely destroyed. Lacking protection from the storms’ powerful surges, the boats, docks and concrete pilings in the 200-slip marina were picked up like sticks and hurled toward the shore.

Fort Pierce Breakwater ProjectIn the aftermath and clean up, the city vowed to build a protective barrier in the Intracoastal Waterway. In 2013, construction started on an innovative barrier system that aimed to protect the marina. Built for 100-year storm protection, the breakwater’s natural and man-made components were integrated into the marine environment and created a pleasant appearance.

The 12-island, 14.66-acre breakwater system cost $18.9 million to build. Construction started in February 2012 and was completed in May 2013. Geotextile tubes were submerged at the bottom of the Intracoastal and filled with sand and gravel, forming T-shaped structures on the bottom.

Rock-filled baskets were layered in behind the tubes to provide backstop support and a cushion for massive limestone boulders that formed the islands.

During construction, loaders were used to move rocks and boulders around the on-shore job site staging area. Skid steers were used to fill the baskets with small rocks. Excavators mounted on barges adjacent to the islands precisely placed thousands of tons or rock to form the islands.

Today, the islands form a barrier between the broad Intracoastal waters and the marina, protecting it from storms and waves, and creating a calm pool of water for boats to glide through. It is also a thriving reef for fish, a perching area for birds and provides a foundation for native plants to root and grow.

Neff Rental equipment was used throughout this unique project. Neff Rental’s Fort Pierce mechanics also serviced and checked equipment hours on land and on barges, helping to ensure that the project continued on schedule.

The next time that you plan to build a breakwater and need reliable earth and rock moving equipment to complete the job; call Neff Rental at 888-709-NEFF or visit for a branch near you.

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