Coastal engineers refer to structures such as sea walls as ‘hard engineering’ options. These were commonly used in the late 19th and for much of the 20th century. Often the structures did not work well, or if they did protect a particular portion of coast an adjacent part suffered. This was the case at Timaru. After the breakwater was built the railway tracks just up the coast were undermined as erosion increased there. The breakwater had trapped the sand, stopping its natural drift along the coast.
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