Every year, violent storms send waves crashing into the Côte d’Azur, creating destruction, injury and sometimes death. A newly completed underwater dike at Monte-Carlo Beach will soon be blocking the breaking waves which reach the palace and the SBM. The idea to protect the small bay from destructive waves has been in the works for almost two decades.
Partially due to climate change, teams have noticed erosion in the area since the 1960s. Massive waves have recently become a regular occurrence. A seven-metre wave in the fall of 2018 damaged La Vigie restaurant. Only last November, a woman taking part in the popular No Finish Line race was seriously injured after being carried away by a wave. The event had to be cut short.
According to the real estate director of the SBM, it took fifteen years of preparation to meet all the conditions imposed by French regulations and obtain the authorization to start the construction in March 2019. But the cumulative 40 days of bad weather delayed the operation by a year. Construction of the barrier has only recently been completed.
The new protective dike is 100 metres long, 20 metres wide and 8 metres high. It was placed on a sandy bottom and is made up of 40,000 tonnes of natural rocks from the La Turbie quarries. The dike was created using the most ecological solutions possible. Species were identified before the start of construction and divers regularly check that they are not disturbed.
At the same time as the dike construction, excavators removed the concrete blocks placed at the edge of the beach and replaced them with a belt of natural rocks, which will let the water seep in to avoid the impact of the waves. This step also enabled the SBM to rehabilitate the public beach of l’Arme.
Although the bay is on French territory, an agreement from the late 1800’s permitted the SBM to use the bay. At that time, the bay was bordered by sand. The seaside club was built in 1928, and the hotel was built in 1929.
Wait and ‘sea’
Workers will now wait and see how the dike holds up until next winter. If it protects against the waves, Monte-Carlo Beach will be regenerated. This means that, by 2021, a new natural pebble beach in front of the club will be restored and the beachfront will look like it did in the 1930s.