Beach protection solutions at Sint Maarten

The Challenge

Alégria Resort of Sint Maarten is at the southwest coast of the island, adjacent to the international airport. The resort is currently undergoing a major refit and upgrading program, that now includes mitigating the damage done to the property by Hurricane Irma of September 2017. The concept includes developing a sea aquarium with sea life in fresh ocean water, fenced off to keep the sea life inside. As a second part of the study, Alégria Resort has requested Royal HaskoningDHV and ICE to consider options to stabilize Maho Beach. The beach, that curves from Alégria Resort, in front of the airport runway towards Maho Beach Resort, changes shape and appearance throughout the year. In general, during winter months the beach profile is growing, with a beach width of about 50 m maximum, where in summer, the beach reduces and sometimes even disappears, and only rock revetment remains. The study aims to understand the phenomena responsible for the changing beach profile, and to develop solutions to prevent the reduction of the beach profile.

Our Solution

The impacts of Irma in 2017 (category 5) and Gonzalo 2014 (category 3) were investigated with a coupled flow and wave model fed by HURDAT hurricane parameters to derive design conditions for alternative breakwater configurations at Alégria and submerged breakwater alternatives at Maho beach. From these alternative configurations a preliminary design was made to protect the Alégria resort against category 3 and 5 hurricanes. The effectiveness and morphological impact of the submerged breakwater was investigated.

The Outcome

We provided a preliminary design of a submerged breakwater to protect Maho beach and a preliminary design for a breakwater and revetments to include a sea life aquarium and protect Alégria Resort against future hurricanes.