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What are those large pyramids next to the Skyway?

NBC Channel 8

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — You might have noticed large, white concrete pyramids sitting along the southern end of the Skyway, near the fishing pier. They are called wave attenuation devices, or WADs.

The WADs are part of an FDOT project to help prevent erosion along the shoreline. They will be placed in the water, partially submerged, about 200 feet from the shoreline. There will be two rows of them in a few different locations at the southern end of the bridge.

They work by reducing the energy and momentum of large waves as they travel over and through the structure. There is then far less wave energy reaching the shore, doing much less damage.

Along with providing erosion protection, there are several secondary benefits. These structures will provide a habitat for oyster growth, new reefs to grow, and hiding areas for fish.

They will also promote the growth of seagrass on the shoreward side of the structures as a result of the protection.

Sergio Figueoa, a project manager with FDOT, said the erosion protection with be immediate and they expect to see seagrass growth and reef habitat benefits within six months to a year.

They will only be partially submerged meaning you will see them in the water. There will be signs posted to warn boaters but they estimate the top of the pyramid will stick out of the water about three feet.

FDOT said they chose this area because it was a good candidate to promote seagrass growth, but also to protect the newly reconstructed Manatee County Resting area and the seawall. FDOT is looking at adding these structures to other areas in the state for their ecosystem benefits.