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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2010 8 years ago

Sand arrives at eroded North Shore Road beach access

by: Kurt Schultheis Senior Editor

Dump trucks spent all day Tuesday, Jan. 5 bringing load after load of sand from a pit out east and dumping it at the severely eroded North Shore Road beach access.

But the 600 cubic yards of sand placed there aren’t nearly enough to re-open the popular spot for beachgoers.

In fact, Public Works Director Juan Florensa told The Longboat Observer Tuesday his department would begin removing the wooden structure and stairs that were erected there just a year ago to help beachgoers get to the beach.

“It’s just too dangerous there now,” Florensa said. “We want to prevent people from going out there as much as possible.”

For now, 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 were washed away by waves.

“It’s just a small sand fill project whose sole purpose is protecting the town’s road and utilities from the waves created by the frequent winter frontal systems,” Florensa said.

To give an idea of how quickly the sand washes away in the area, Florensa said the town placed 165 cubic yards of sand in the area on Dec. 23 before the sand pit was closed for the holidays.

“We lost 165 cubic yards of the sand we placed there in less than two weeks time because of the frequent frontal systems that take the sand away,” Florensa said.

The Town Commission approved a $30,000 budget transfer request by town officials to place sand in the area as needed this winter.

The 600 cubic yards of sand placed there cost the town approximately $12,000. The town is obtaining the sand from a borrow site at Schroeder-Manatee Ranch in East Manatee County.

“We will watch the area very carefully, and if the sand washes away, we will ask for more sand on an as-needed basis,” said Florensa, who said Gulf waters were only five feet from North Shore Road at high tide before the recent project started.

In the meantime, the town received direction from the commission in December to work together with Manatee County to develop an inlet management plan.

The plan, county and town officials hope, will give some insight into what needs to be done to stop the majority of sand from being washed into Longboat Pass.

The town is also still moving forward with a $2.5 million plan to place four breakwaters acting as rock islands 220 feet from the shore to counteract the beach erosion. Construction could start as soon as November 2010, a year before the town’s next beach-renourishment program begins in November 2011.

Town officials also learned last month that 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.

Contact Kurt Schultheis at [email protected].

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