Schlitt services seawall, Vero Beach, Florida

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Courtesy of Presto Geosystems

One example is when prime real estate, which is scarce in south Florida, forces developers to reclaim low-lying land for commercial use. Louis Schlitt, a Vero Beach area real estate developer, approached us with such a land reclamation problem.

The property slated for commercial development butted up against a saltwater estuary. In addition to the existence of agency-protected species of vegetation, the soil surrounding the estuary had high moisture content and therefore exhibited low shear strength. A retention structure was required to hold back the weak soils and support the surcharge loads imposed by the intended project, a condominium and office complex.

A traditional solution to this problem is to construct wood, steel or concrete retaining walls. Such structures are common, but this project had unique characteristics that caused engineers to re-evaluate the use of traditional earth retention methods and materials.

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