City officials say the dredging of Big Pass will help protect the natural and built environment on Lido Key.
Nearly seven years after the U.S. Army Corps of engineers unveiled plans to renourish Lido Key’s shoreline with sand from Big Pass, construction on the project is finally set to begin next month.
City Engineer Alex DavisShaw said crews plan to start pumping sand on the south end of Lido Key on July 6. According to a schedule provided by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the work will gradually progress to the north, reaching the Lido Beach Club by Aug. 1 and the Lido Pavilion area in early September. The dredging is scheduled to conclude in early October near the parking lot for the Lido Beach recreational trail.
The city is teaming with the Army Corps on the project, which will dredge Big Pass for the first time. The Army Corps awarded a $12.68 million construction contract to Chesapeake, Va.-based Cottrell Contracting Corp. in March. Previous estimates placed the total project costs at $19.6 million, with the city contributing $6.9 million.
DavisShaw said the project team is still coordinating how the project will affect beach access. She said once a plan is in place, signage will be posted notifying visitors which areas of the beach will be restricted while sand is being placed. After the dredging phase of the project is complete, crews will begin work on constructing a pair of sand-retaining groins on the beach. Work is expected to be complete in May 2021, the city said.
DavisShaw said the project is particularly important for the Lido shoreline because historically, the city has been forced to take a reactive approach to erosion issues, adding sand only after a storm hit. The dredging partnership with the Army Corps allows for renourishments to occur every five years.
The project has been the subject of controversy since plans were announced, drawing opposition from Siesta Key residents who feared dredging Big Pass could negatively affect the shoreline to the south. There remains two outstanding legal challenges to the dredging project, though a circuit court judge has dismissed an argument the city failed to take necessary regulatory steps to obtain a permit for a project.
DavisShaw said she did not believe any outstanding legal issues would affect the plans for construction.