Breakers Hotel rehabilitating and enlarging groins on Palm Beach

PALM BEACH, Fla. - The Breakers Hotel on Palm Beach got the final go-ahead from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to enhance and enlarge the existing groins that sit along the coast behind their hotel.

Work started a few weeks ago with heavy machinery on the beach moving boulders at the shore.  The project is expected to be competed by the end of March. Their permit expires May 1 st because of sea turtle nesting season. To check on the progress, click on the LIVE BREAKERS CAM

Here's the plan:

The project will rehabilitate and enlarge five existing T-head groins, remove one T-head groin, and add one new breakwater.  The height of the breakwater and T-groins will be raised significantly.  Right now they are at an elevation of 0-1ft, and they will go up to 5 ft, NAVD. And the crest width will be 9 feet.   The length of the breakwaters will be extended some 20 ft on each side. The new breakwater will be 70 ft total length, and be situated approximately in front of the pool area. 

They will be removing the breakwater and groin that's at the far south end of the property, next to the Estee Lauder wall, so the last breakwater will be just before The Breakers beach area.

The breakwaters will be constructed using armor stone, weighing between two and four tons each.  The new breakwater, and the breakwater extensions, will be placed on a one foot thick marine mattress foundation.  The current steel sheet pile/concrete panel groins that are perpendicular to the shore will also be refurbished with concrete caps, raising the groin segments about half a foot as they go from the shore to the breakwaters.

For a complete look at the plans, -click here-

County Commissioners just rejected plans for breakwaters to protect the shore on Singer Island.  The Breaker's project, although also used to control erosion, isn't the same. Surfrider foundation's Tom Warnke cautions, "It is correct to say that the construction project at The Breakers is far removed from what is planned on Singer Island.  Although both projects have down-drift impacts, The Breakers project is more similar to the armoring at Deerfield Beach or Palm Beach mid-town, but much smaller and mostly right on the beach. "

The Palm Beach County Surfrider Foundation is watching closely what is going on behind the historic hotel, but doesn't think it's going to work out well. "This will be a great case study of how poorly breakwaters perform, as relates to down-drift impacts, swimmers, sea life, etc. supporting our position against other coastal armoring projects," said Greg Lyon, of the Surfrider Foundation.

Todd Remmel, The Palm Beach County Chapter Chair, reiterates what Surfrider is all about. "The Surfrider Foundation recognizes that the biodiversity and ecological integrity of our coastal environment is necessary and irreplaceable.  The Palm Beach County Chapter, and others worldwide, are committed to preserving ‘natural living and non-living diversity' and ‘ecological integrity'.  The failed effort and millions of dollars of taxpayer money spent with the intent of hardening our shoreline using experimental construction projects, (Singer Island Erosion Control Project and other county breakwater projects), indicates a mere bureaucratic approach and narrow vision for the future of coastal management. "

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