January 18, 2023

Engineering a Resilient Capital

In 2004, Hurricane Ivan struck Jamaica with category 4 winds, resulting in high storm runoff, extensive flooding, and land erosion island wide. Along the Port Royal Street coastline, which marks the boundary between the Kingston Harbour and the city of Kingston, severe erosion continued post-Ivan, damaging the structural integrity of the road, and generating concern amongst the government agencies and residents.

In 2013, the National Works Agency (NWA) sought the expertise of CEAC Solutions Company Limited to respond to the continuing rapid shore erosion. In response, CEAC provided a design report for the shoreline protection works, highlighting that sections of the coast were extremely vulnerable to coastal erosion, wave attack and road failure, as well as providing recommendations on how to rehabilitate the coastline. However, at the time, due to lack of funding the next steps could not be taken.

Five years later, the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) commissioned CEAC to rehabilitate the Port Royal Street Coastline as part of a World Bank-funded project. The US$30m Jamaica Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project was designed with the objective to “Enhance Jamaica’s resilience to disaster and climate change risk”. With an all-Jamaican team of engineers, CEAC conducted community consultations with those most affected, oceanographic investigations, and designed the shoreline to resist climate change to 2050 and a very severe and rare storm- a design that was tested using physical scale model testing.

These designs were implemented between 2020 and 2022 with CEAC as lead engineers supported by contractors Smith Warner International and S&G Road Surfacing Materials Limited. The shoreline now features 1,250 meters of road works and revetment with over 36,000 tons of armor stones from Hill Run, St. Catherine, recreational facilities, public restrooms, and a 4.7-meter-wide boardwalk.

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