Caladesi Island is a pristine barrier island located off the southwest Florida coast near Dunedin, just across the bay from Tampa. The island can only be reached by boat or a ferry operated daily by the Florida State Park Service. The undeveloped area and unspoiled natural habitats makes Caladesi Island one of the top “must-see” beaches in the world.
Every year, the island welcomes over 200,000 annual guests to experience Florida as it existed hundreds of years ago. Visitors can enjoy over four miles of empty beaches and fish for snook, snapper, redfish, flounder, and other great catches. Visitors can also observe native birds in their natural habitat, which is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. The park service even offers 108 overnight boat slips that include electricity and water hook-ups.
Replacing a Corroded & Failing Aluminum Seawall
The Florida State Park Service knew a marina on Caladesi Island was necessary if the public was going to be able to enjoy the area. A marina meant utilizing seawalls in order to create docks, slips, and other access points.
Hoping to get many years out of its seawall investment, the Park Service chose a seawall made of heavy aluminum sheeting. Unfortunately, aluminum is subject to corrosive activity caused by the pH of soil and water. Holes quickly developed in the wall which increasingly threatened the integrity of the seawall system itself. The Florida State Service needed a better, much longer-lasting solution for its popular marina.
Below is a picture of the corroded aluminum wall before it is fully encapsulated by the new ESP vinyl seawall:
A Strong and Reliable ESP Vinyl Seawall to Protect Caladesi Island for Future Generations
After researching options, in 2018 the Park Service choose Everlast Series 5.5 vinyl sheet pile to completely replace the failing aluminum wall. The ESP 5.5 vinyl sheet pile was chosen for its strength and durability– its imperviousness to rust and pH corrosion and damage from marine borers.
[See all our vinyl seawall products HERE.]
Behind Every ESP Seawall: The Industry’s Top Talent
The engineer on the Caladesi seawall project was Rube Clarson, P.E., a prominent marine engineer based in St. Petersburg. Marine contractor Midcoast Construction was chosen for the Caladesi Island seawall installation project. The project included 1,477 linear feet of vinyl seawall.
Installation Challenges Overcome
Installation was not without challenges. Caladesi is a remote island after all, so all materials and equipment for the project had to arrive on barges. The project took a little over a year to complete.
Confident in a job well done, Midcoast Construction owner Jack Fulford left his equipment on the island in anticipation of securing the commission to install Phase II.
After Phase I was finished, the results were so impressive that Phase II was quickly opened up to contractor bids. Sure enough, MidCoast was chosen again given their excellent work on Phase I, plus the benefits associated with the company already having heavy equipment in place on the island.
Advanced ESP Seawall Technology on Display
The Caladesi Island seawall project was the ideal opportunity to install our advanced Evercomp Composite Wale System as part of the island’s new seawall system.
Walers strengthen a wall in large part by connecting to the tie-backs installed on the land-side of the wall, which in effect pull the wall to prevent it from bowing forward. Our ESP technological innovation, however, is to make our tie rod washer an entire wraparound plate. The washer plate is made of hot-dipped galvanized and/or stainless steel for superior strength and durability.
This unique “three plane” washer design greatly enhances the strength of the whale system by adding three sides of load-bearing support along the horizontal composite waler tube, further strengthening the wall vertically and not just horizontally. This leads to tremendous strength at each tie rod.
ESP offers both a 4” wide x 6” tall and a 4” wide x 7.5” composite waler tube. You can see an example of this three-sided Tie Rod Bearing Plate washer in the below image, which features our 4” wide x 7.5” tall version:
[See our wale plates spec sheet HERE.]
Transforming the “Weakest Link” into the Strongest
The ESP EverComp waler system has additional strength advantages. Typically, the spot where the ends of two walers meet would represent the “weakest link” of the seawall, or the place where the wall is technically the least strong.
The ESP design puts that logic on its head. Our Splice Plates join the wales together solidly under one steel wraparound plate that serves as a kind of super-washer. As a result, the connection point transforms from the weakest to the strongest point of the wall.
You can see an example of our Splice Plates system in the below image from the Caladesi Island seawall project:
Double Wales for Twice the Strength
For even more strength, a double wale system can be employed with the wide side of the waler facing out to create a stronger beam, together roughly doubling again the strength of the wall.
[See our technical data sheet for our EverComp Wale/Beam System HERE.]
Stronger, Longer-Lasting Seawalls with ESP Vinyl Piling and EverComp Composite Waler System
We are excited to have our industry-leading seawall products used in the marina seawall project on the famous Caladesi Island.
Our team couldn’t be more proud to play a part in securing this amazing American gem for generations to come. We congratulate all of our partners on their excellent work on the project.