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Longboat Key dredging delayed again by hurricane

It’s the second time project manager Steve Bassett had to move his dredge from Longboat to Tampa for safe harbor.

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  • | 9:18 a.m. October 12, 2016
The last sand haul concluded Monday on Longboat Key.
The last sand haul concluded Monday on Longboat Key.
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It takes 14 hours to pull a dredge from Longboat Key to Tampa Bay.

The crew from Norfolk Dredging Co. of Chesapeake, Va., would know. It’s had to do it twice in five weeks.

Hurricane Hermine first drove the dredge out of New Pass off Longboat Key to Tampa in early September.

Knowing Hurricane Matthew’s outer bands would reach Longboat last week prompted project manager Steve Bassett, of NDC, to move his 150-foot-long cutterhead pipeline hydraulic dredge to Tampa once again to safe harbor.

When his crew members returned at 5 a.m. Monday, they told Bassett storm damage on the beach was minimal, he said. Sand pumping resumed at 10 a.m.

“We have no significant erosion,” Bassett said. “Last time (with Hermine), we hade some significant erosion.”

The little damage there is from Matthew looked worse than it is, he said, describing it as a minor drop-off, or scarp.

“There is a little bit of wash on the north end,” Bassett said. “We’ve told the town we’ll level that scarp off.”

Town Manager David Bullock reported roughly half the scheduled sand volume for the Longboat Pass project has been placed.

Just as in September when Hermine caused a seven-day delay, Bassett’s crew lost a full week to the foul weather.

Hermine was the first time a storm forced Norfolk Dredging to retreat with its dredge due to weather since a tropical storm in Pinellas County in 2012, he said.

The dredge, named Pullen, is pumping an estimated 210,000 cubic yards of sand to repair more than 4,000 linear feet of Longboat Key shoreline in two areas: from North Shore Road to just south of Broadway and along the beach between 6700 and 6391 Gulf of Mexico Drive. Dredging will go on 24 hours a day until the job is done.

In a related operation, Public Works Director Juan Florensa said the job ended Monday for trucks hauling sand while operating from a site near Longboat Key Club. Cleanup and demobilization will take two weeks, he said.

The supplemental truck haul placed an estimated 33,000 cubic yards of sand between the Resort at Longboat Key and New Pass. 

The entire beach renourishment project is expected to wrap up in late October.


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