Mother Nature isn’t making it any easier on the town and its effort to complete construction of two, permeable adjustable-type groins behind The Islander Club by April 30.
The approximately $1 million project, which was approved two years ago to hold a fast-eroding beach, must be wrapped up by the end of April before sea-turtle nesting season begins May 1. Recent strong storms have delayed construction.
But, Public Works Director Juan Florensa is hopeful the project will be complete in time.
“We think we can make it happen,” Florensa said. “But this weather is not cooperating or making it any easier on us.”
If the project isn’t completed by May 1, construction must halt until sea-turtle nesting ends Nov. 1.
The town’s hired contractor is constructing the 225 feet long structures 20 feet seaward of The Islander Club’s seawall.
The groins, which have concrete teeth that can be adjusted or removed as needed to combat strong currents that sweep sand away from the beach, measure 11-feet-by-4-inches and will be capped with a concrete deck.
Florensa said the concrete deck on the northern groin is currently being put in place. That groin should be complete in the next couple of weeks.
The southern groin, Florensa said, began construction a few weeks ago.
“A trestle now sits on the side of the groin, so workers can work alongside the groin instead of on top of it,” said Florensa, who explained that it’s been a learning process for the contractor because a groin has not been built on the West Coast of Florida for more than 30 years.
Islander Club President Carl Pfirrmann and resident David Brenner have witnessed the issues the contractor has had with the project because of the weather.
“It’s tough to build a structure out into the water with strong waves and wind getting in the way,” Brenner said.
Brenner, however, said the groins are already starting to pay off.
“There is no question the northern groin is already starting to hold a beach,” said Brenner, who believes 10 feet of sand has accreted both north and south of the northernmost groin. “It’s comforting to know the groins will hold a beach behind our home.”
MANATEE COUNTY WILL FIX GROINS
Charlie Hunsicker, Manatee County’s director of Conservation Lands Management, sent an e-mail to Manatee County commissioners Feb. 4, explaining that the town of Longboat Key’s efforts to attain a permit for groins behind The Islander Club mean his department will work to fix and preserve one to three dilapidated groins on Anna Maria Island.
Wrote Hunsicker: “I wanted to assure you that we will be pursuing an effort to save one or more of the three groins presently at Cortez Beach, with structures of size and length very similar to what was there originally, with a low-profile structure similar to what exists at the Colony Beach & Tennis Resort, on Longboat Key. If we are successful in obtaining permits for this type of replacement structure, it will feature a low beach profile ‘sidewalk like’ top that you can walk on. We will work toward this replacement to occur in our 2014-2015 renourishment event planned for much of the entire island.”
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