Project Description

In February 2011 Tropical Cyclone Yasi caused widespread damage to coastal communities in north Queensland. The township of Cardwell was one of several to experience devastating winds, severe storm tide and significant wave action. Significant damage was inflicted on private property and public infrastructure at Cardwell – including the severing of the Bruce Highway. The Highway serves as a vital transport link between Townsville and Cairns as well as coastal regions further north, and therefore represents a significant and essential infrastructure asset in North Queensland.

Cardwell-TC-Yasi-reconstruction-PostQueensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) commissioned Coastal Engineering Solutions to design and prepare construction documentation for an appropriate seawall to protect the Cardwell foreshore and the Bruce Highway from future cyclone damage.

A significant consideration during the engineering design and subsequent construction of a rock-armoured seawall was the retention of the large iconic Calophyllum trees that largely survived the cyclone. This placed a constraint on the landward-most location of the seawall, as well as the crest level to which it could be built.

Cardwell_2The low-lying nature of the local foreshore meant that in order to accommodate future cyclone-induced extreme storm tides and waves, there needed to be substantial rock armouring of the area immediately behind the front slope of the seawall. This needed to integrate with the base and root system of the existing Calophyllum trees – as well as the landscaping of the reinstated foreshore parkland.

Coastal Engineering Solutions was retained to provide specialised technical assistance to TMR’s construction supervision and project management teams – and to insure that the seawall construction complied with the engineering drawings and the design intent.