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Merritt Island Airport

Merritt Island, Florida

Shoreline Protection


Diversified Supply


October 5, 2015 to March 9, 2016

Technical Description:

• 25,122 sf of ArmorFlex® Class 50 Mats
• 14,712 sf of ArmorFlex® Class 60 Mats

Constructed in the early 1940s by the Brevard County Mosquito Control District, the Merritt Island Airport, originally known as the Central Brevard Airport, consisted of two sod landing strips 1,800 and 3,000 feet in length. Years later, after being abandoned, the area was deeded to the Titusville-Cocoa Airport Authority (TCAA) and became a public aviation facility. The 129-acre facility is the closest airport to Cocoa Beach and Port Canaveral and consists of one asphalt runway. It features "aircraft charter services, bi-plane rides, banner towing, flight training, aircraft avionics services and aircraft maintenance and sales." In order to address the eroding shoreline at the airport and comply with Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) runway safety area design requirements, the airport authority applied for and received FAA grant funding to improve the runway safety area (RSA) and stabilize the shoreline.

In the United States alone, soil is eroding 10 times faster than the natural soil replenishment rate with about 60% of the soil being washed away and ending up in rivers, streams, lakes, and gulfs. Since the soil frequently contains fertilizers and pesticides, it pollutes the water, depletes the oxygen in the water, and in turn, kills the fish living in the polluted water. Airports like Merritt Island Airport, which is located in a coastal area are especially prone to this occurrence, losing soil and land to not only rain but also storms, tornadoes, and hurricanes. It is imperative that shoreline stabilization and protection practices be used to minimize the damage and loss of soil and maintain a flat surface for the runway safety area to reduce the risk of damage to aircraft that undershoot or overshoot the runway. 

In order to address these safety issues and enhance the safe aircraft operations, the FAA created the Runway Safety Area Program (RSAP) in 2000. To date, the RSAP has funded $13.7 billion of airport infrastructure safety infrastructure improvements.

Since 1940, 80 hurricanes have hit the Merritt Island Airport, resulting in a deficient runway safety area. From 1988 to 2014, 34 incidents of airplanes rolling off the runway were reported, resulting in aircraft damage and minor injuries. After receiving grant monies, Michael Baker International was hired to solve these stabilization issues and protect the shoreline from future storms and erosion. Since the area is surrounded by the Banana River Aquatic Preserve, the project design minimized impacting the protected areas. A complex mitigation plan was developed to compensate for unavoidable wetland impact. The plan included an off-site mosquito impoundment enhancement wetland mitigation area, derelict vessel removal, a seagrass island and a green shoreline protection system.

39,834 sf of ArmorFlex® from Contech Engineered Solutions was selected as the best option to protect the shoreline. ArmorFlex is a flexible, interlocking matrix of cellular concrete blocks of uniform size, shape, and weight used for hard armor erosion control. ArmorFlex blocks are individually tested to specific hydraulic capacities and are laced with revetment cables to provide ease-of-handling and rapid installation. The armored shoreline mats were selected for this project for their ability to resist scour, uplift wave forces and effectively stop sediment erosion into the river.  In addition, the open cell mats allow for planting of native flora and grasses providing additional stormwater runoff treatment.

"This is an exemplary project considering that we had nothing before," concluded Michael Powell, Chief Executive Officer of TCAA. "The shoreline had eroded and started to eat away at the area next to the runway. We went from a deficient runway safety area to one that exceeds FAA standards."

Technical Description:

• 25,122 sf of ArmorFlex® Class 50 Mats
• 14,712 sf of ArmorFlex® Class 60 Mats

800-338-1122 |


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