Keyword Site Search

Concrete "Prisms" Fight Erosion Along Chesapeake Bay

The Smith-Midland Corporation has developed and tested Beach Prisms along the shores of the Chesapeake Bay for the past 18 years. The precast concrete devices have been successful in significantly reducing shoreline erosion.

The shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland have been eroding steadily, constantly reshaping the landscape of the area and serving as a visible reminder that the ocean could someday reclaim the land.

For the past 18 years, the Smith-Midland Corporation has been testing Beach PrismsTM at more than 20 sites on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributary rivers to help stop or reverse erosion. The prisms are permeable, precast concrete products that work by reducing the amount of energy in incoming waves before they reach the shore. The waves pass through slots in the triangular three to four-foot-tall, 10-foot-long devices.

"Our experience has proven that Beach Prisms either slow the rate of shore erosion, stop erosion or reverse erosion by replenishing sand in front of and behind the prisms," said Ashley Smith, vice president for sales and marketing for Smith-Midland.

The success of the devices depends on a few factors: the prevailing wind in relation to the shoreline, the tides, the fetch and the availability of sand in the surf.

According to an engineering study done by Land Engineering Inc., of Centreville, Md. conducted at the Terrapin Nature Area on the east shores of the Chesapeake Bay, devices installed in the area made it through Hurricane Isabel with only minor dislocation. Prisms are ideal for river and bay-front property owners who want an alternative to traditional armor stone, or groins and jetties.

For more information visit or

A Chip off the ol' Brick

Did you know ... ?

ASTM standards for the brick industry allow for up to five percent breakage. That is why when determining the quantity of brick needed for a job you multiply the total number of square feet by the brick needed per square foot, then divide by .95 to allow for breakage.

How Many Bricks per Sq. Ft.?

Brick Size

Bricks per sq. ft.

King Size


Builders Special






Queen Size


Bricks are priced per 1,000 pieces.

Hard-firing ensures that a clay brick will not shrink like a concrete substitute.

Source: Acme Brick. The company, established in 1891, reports it is the largest U.S. owned manufacturer of fired clay brick and guarantees its residential brick "will endure subfreezing cold, will withstand blistering heat, and will remain beautiful for 100 years."

Chicago-Area Cities Seeing Benefits of Brick Streets

Purington pavers (circa 1920) on a Chicago street.

The Chicago Tribune reports brick streets are resurfacing in this Midwest hub. Forest Park, for instance, which has about a dozen blocks of brick streets, is in the midst of a $10 million infrastructure refurbishment and has already reconstructed two brick streets in the last year and will complete three more blocks of brick streets by December.

Oak Park only has one block of brick street, but it had to be excavated five years ago. The question was to restore the brick or go with asphalt. The residents wanted their brick back and got it. This led Oak Park Village President David Pope to consider adding more brick streets. Their initial cost estimates indicate the higher price of brick can be more than offset by lower maintenance costs and longer life than asphalt. He asserts the rougher brick surface slows traffic and that there is less traffic on brick streets because drivers prefer driving smooth asphalt surfaces.

Other Chicago-area cities with brick streets include Downers Grove and Wilmette.

Costs for brick street restoration can range from $13 to $17 per square foot. Asphalt repaving costs are in the $5 to $10 per square foot range.

5,000- Years old, age of some of the oldest bricks ever found. These bricks were found in the Tigris-Euphrates basin and were sun-dried. Source: Yahoo! Encyclopedia

Search Site by Story Keywords

Related Stories

June 26, 2019, 12:05 pm PDT

Website problems, report a bug.
Copyright © 2019 Landscape Communications Inc.
Privacy Policy