Dump trucks arrived on Longboat Key again Tuesday, Feb. 16, bringing load after load of sand from a pit out east and dumping it at the severely eroded North Shore Road beach access.
The 600 cubic yards of sand are replacing loads of sand that have been washed away from this year’s barrage of cold fronts, which removes the sand rapidly.
The town obtained a permit from the state to place sand just north of North Shore Road to recreate a sand berm and dune system that was washed away by waves.
The Town Commission approved a $30,000 budget transfer request by town officials last year to place sand in the area as needed this winter.
The 600 cubic yards of sand placed at the beach access in January cost the town approximately $12,000. And this latest project, according to the town’s finance department, is costing $8,400 for the sand and $8,200 to place it.
The town is obtaining the sand from a borrow site at Schroeder-Manatee Ranch in East Manatee County.
Commissioner Gene Jaleski, however, sent an e-mail to Town Manager Bruce St. Denis Feb. 14, urging for more to be done to protect the property in the area.
Jaleski wrote: “If the winds and waves remain from the north, I estimate that North Shore will be in the initial stages of being undermined in a day or two. There is less than 2.5 feet of loose sand between the water and the edge of the road.”
Jaleski suggests the town place temporary barricades, similar to highway dividers, along the beach using a crane.
“I am aware that the town might get fined for protecting North Shore as well as 360 North condos and the Periwinkle unit, but how much will a new road cost the taxpayers?” Jaleski said. “I feel it is time to stop worrying about permits and start protecting taxpayer property.”
For now, the town is moving forward with a $2.5 million plan to place four breakwaters acting as rock islands 220 feet from shore to counteract the beach erosion, which could start construction as soon as November, a year before the town’s next beach renourishment program is scheduled to begin.
Town officials also learned last month the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has plans to dredge up to 200,000 cubic yards of sand in Longboat Pass, which could be divided among the town and Manatee County for beach use. That project could begin as early as January 2011.
But knowing there are hurdles that exist with the breakwater project, including opposition from various local and state agencies, the commission also agreed to work to find more sand to place in the area in the interim.
The commission will also work with condominiums such as Longbeach to possibly put temporary plastic structures in place to protect the properties until more sand can be put there.
The commission has also moved forward with spending $125,000 for its share of a joint Longboat Pass Inlet Management Study that will be worked on with Manatee County; $103,879 for a sand search in federal waters for future beach renourishments; and funding permitting costs for the upcoming town-wide renourishment project.
Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].