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Ponte Vedra

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Background

18 miles from Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach Florida is an upper-income resort community. It’s also subject to extreme shoreline erosion: a typical storm during a full moon can erode up to 50’ (15 m) of beach in a matter of hours.

Over the decades, hundreds of feet of protective sand dunes have disappeared, putting multi-million dollar homes in danger of literally falling into the ocean. The remaining dunes are so unstable that posted signs warn of their imminent collapse if walked upon. Homeowners need a permanent shoreline erosion control solution to protect their homes — and lives.
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Project Scope

There is no government program for protecting residential beach property:

Ponte Vedra homeowners are on their own. Furthermore, homeowners can only qualify for a state permit to armor their shoreline if the toe of their dune is 20’ (6 m) or less from their foundations. (The “toe” is defined by Florida as where the base of the dune meets the ocean.)

“And it could take up to four to six months to get a permit” from Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, says contractor Buddy Kollar of Kollar Bros. Inc. “In the meantime, homeowners aren’t sleeping.”

Kollar has installed 59 erosion control walls, becoming an expert contractor for sea walls in the greater Ponte Vedra area. “We’ve done two wood walls, but I don’t even want to talk about them,” says Kollar. “ShoreGuard® Vinyl is just the way to go. We’ve put in 57 vinyl walls…and haven’t lost a single piece of cap, we haven’t had one push, and we haven’t had to go back and fill in behind any walls.”
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Performance

“We were putting in two walls in Ponte Vedra,” tells Kollar. “The sheets and helical anchors were in, but not yet backfilled. Then a hurricane came within about 30 miles of us with winds up to 90mph. Afterwards, the old, mildewed homes looked like they’d been pressure-washed cleaned from the ocean spray. But my walls were still as straight as an arrow — with no erosion behind them.”
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Construction

Kollar uses a “Navy Wall” design: Horizontal walers bolted to wood pilings that are tied back through the vinyl pilings to helical anchors that are screwed deep into the homeowners’ yards.

Scheduling is tight: Work cannot be done during sea turtle season (May 15 – October 31), beach access is limited, and all equipment must be off the beach by dusk.

Kollar’s preferred method for installing ShoreGuard walls is to use a water jet to loosen the sand and then drive in the sheets using a pneumatic hammer mounted onto an excavator. Kollar uses up to 1 mile\ of his own fire hose to avoid disturbing dunes and residences.

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