Sand solution on way

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Sand is imminent to renourish the eroded north end of Longboat Key. And residents are relived to hear the news and see the signs of the coming sand.

By mid next week, the sand will be spread to help stem what is the most severely eroded part of the island according to Public Works Director Juan Florensa.

Residents can see the first step in the placement of several thousand feet of plastic pipe staged at the Broadway Beach access.

The north end, specifically in the vicinity of Northshore Road, has experienced serious erosion over the last five years.

To protect property and infrastructure, the Town and the West Coast Inland Navigation District have joined forces to place about 100,000 cubic yards of sand in the vicinity in total.

Florensa said the WCIND has a project excavating in Intercoastal waters near Jewfish Key and they need a location to place the sand. That location became Longboat Key.

“We partnered with them and they will be disposing the spoil on our shoreline,” said Florensa.

The dredge will pump the sand from Jewfish Key to a booster pump near Beer Can Island and the booster pump will pump sand to Longboat’s beach.

Florensa said historically the Town paid $8 to $18 per cubic yard for sand and the last bid was in the $22 per yard range. This project is only going to cost $6.18 per yard and the WCIND is paying more than $500,000 for the project and the Town will be contributing between $300,000 and $400,000.

The sand will be placed in two locations. The first is to the right or north of the seawall at the end of Northshore Road in front of 360 North condominium for 500 to 600 feet creating a beach about 50 feet wide.

The other spot is south of the seawall all the way to just south of the Broadway Beach access. A little more than a quarter of the sand will go to the north.

Florensa said sand placed to the south of the seawall would travel north because the current goes north in that section along the beach.

Florensa said over the past couple of years the area has experienced increased erosion, possibly due to Tropical Storm Debbie a couple of years ago.

The Town provided an emergency fill in 2011 of 139,000 cubic yards and spent $4 million and all of it that sand is gone.

Florensa said the two affected condominiums, 360 North and Longbeach Condominium, are very appreciative of the town’s action.

Florensa explained: “We have been watching this project for past two years. WCIND asked if the Town was interested in taking the sand since it would defray their costs. We advised them we would be interested. As soon as they got the permit we contacted them and we told them we have an emergency and Town Manager Dave Bullock went in front of WCIND and told them of the state of affairs on Longboat Key and they authorized the executive director to expedite the project and spend $500,000. We agreed to pay the rest of the bid amount.”

Florensa said it would provide temporary relief.

“We hope it will give us enough time to install the groins that are going in there. Once the groins are in it will protect the properties. The sand will also allow us to build the groins in dry beach not wet beach.”

The Town got the permit two weeks ago to proceed with building two adjustable groins. The groins will go to bid next Wednesday. Two groins, one 125 feet long; the other a little longer. The Town expects the project to cost $2.5 million, which has been budgeted and allocated.

Florensa said the Town is looking at some time in the late fall to begin construction and expects the project to be built in less than six months.

The southernmost groin is going in at the end of Northshore Road attached to the seawall. The other one will be off the beach in front of the north end of the 360 North condominiums.


South end woes

The South end of Longboat Key has also received complaints of erosion and the Town is addressing the situation.

The south end has also eroded, but not as severely. The last time the Town placed sand was in the 2006 beach project. Traditionally, the Town placed sand on 8-year intervals. It is expected and is showing signs it needs to be renourished.

Florensa said the Town did not proceed with a summer 2013 renourishment of that area because the bids came in $5 million over budget.

That leaves the Town with two options at the south end: the long term would be a project in the summer of 2016 either with New Pass or offshore sand.

A more immediate option is truck-hauling sand in. That tends to be substantially more expensive than dredging New Pass.

The Town Manager and Florensa met with several condo managers and told them of the options and have committed to find out the cost for a truck haul over the next 30 days. The Town engineers are crunching numbers said Florensa.

The south end will need a minimum of 100,000 cubic yards and it could need as much as 300,000 cubic yards of sand. The town would also have to get a permit to use an upland source or trucked sand on the beach.

Florensa said if it is trucked in, the area is looking at thousands of trucks.

Town Manager Dave Bullock said, “We are looking to engineers to give us options on what can be done to remedy that situation on the short term while we plan for a larger scale nourishment. We will be looking to get this information to the Town Commission by the June workshop, ideally.”







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