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Manzanilla Beach Restoration

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The Manzanilla Beach Facility is a popular tourist destination known internationally for its leatherback sea turtle nesting areas. Located on the eastern side of the island of Trinidad in the Caribbean Sea, the beach was forced to close in 2014 after sections of its 25-year-old concrete seawall began to collapse due to Manzanilla’s notoriously rough surf: vigorous wave action was literally undermining the wall.

In fact, several concrete seawalls in the region have failed due to the scouring action of waves at the toe of the walls. The Coastal Protection Unit of Trinidad’s Ministry of Works & Infrastructure required a new solution that was not vulnerable to wave scouring. The solution had to perform three functions: retaining wall, coastal erosion protection, and seawall barrier. And it had to last much longer than the existing wall.

Project Scope

The Shoreline Management Specialist for Trinidad’s Coastal Protection Unit, Mrs. Candice Gary-Bernard, exhaustively researched alternative approaches to concrete seawalls. In particular, she was impressed by CMI’s response to similar challenges in areas ranging from the Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean coasts of Colombia. Not only was CMI vinyl sheet piling less money than steel piling, it is virtually maintenance free, and it carried a 50-year warranty on materials and manufacturing.

Working closely with the Ministry, and Marger Limited, a Trinidad-based distributor, CMI engineered a new wall of vinyl sheet piling that would extend much deeper into the soil than the existing concrete wall.


Tourism and future development is critically important for the Manzanilla Beach area of Trinidad. So it’s not surprising that when the beach reopened in August 2015, the head of the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, Dr. Surujrattan Rambachan officiated the commemoration ceremony.

The new wall doesn’t just fulfill its three primary functions. It’s also an integral part of a vibrant new public space that includes a promenade with solar streetlights, sitting areas, new concrete stairs and a wheelchair access ramp to the beach. The Ministry of Works proudly displays a YouTube video of the completed project.

Manzanilla Beach is Trinidad’s first public works project using vinyl synthetic piling. Nevertheless, they have already started a second ShoreGuard® 850-based beach protection project, just north of Manzanilla Beach, at Cocos Bay.


In addition to being intimately involved with all stages of design and engineering, CMI was onsite to assist Zeeton Limited, a Trinidad-based contractor, in the initial installation of panels and their ArmorWare tie-back system.

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