Anna Maria Island beach renourishment project slated for completion

Corps renourishment project slated for completion

skennedy@bradenton.comMarch 1, 2014 

MANATEE -- A $13 million federal beach renourishment project is slated for completion next week, but the same contractor will continue south along Anna Maria Island on a related, $5.7 million county-state project.

The estimated completion date for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project is Friday, according to Terry Hines, the Corps' chief for corporate communications.

"The federal project completion street end is approximately Fifth Street South, with a transitional period through approximately 13th Street South, which then turns into the county beach project," she said.

The contractor for both projects is Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, of Oak Brook, Ill.

One business owner along the beach, where 1.1 million cubic yards of sand will fortify the shore at the federal project's end, expressed satisfaction at its outcome.

"What a gorgeous beach," said Gayle Luper, owner of the Bungalow Beach Resort, 2000 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach. "It's big and wide and beautiful -- we're very excited to have it."

Although the renourishment project came at the height of the tourist season, she said her guests were mostly understand

ing about the heavy equipment that was needed to do the job.

"We appreciate the patience of our residents and visitors," said Charlie Hunsicker, the county's director of parks and natural resources.

He hopes beachgoers would continue to observe safety buffers as the big dredge barge, The California, continues another couple of miles south.

The county-state companion project will start immediately after the federal project ends. Local funds for it are coming from tourist "bed taxes," while state and federal funds will pay the remainder of the cost, Hunsicker said.

Asked if there had been any problems so far, Hunsicker said generally, it had gone well.

"This project went smoothly, despite the weather delays, and was still completed well ahead of schedule," said Hunsicker.

During the upcoming renourishment, 235,000 cubic yards of sand are slated to be pumped onto the beaches on the south end of the island. Since December, the dredge barge has been sitting offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, pumping sand from a borrow area north of Anna Maria Island onto its storm-battered beaches.

During the two related projects, about seven miles of shoreline will be fortified from 78th Street at Holmes Beach, south to Longboat Pass, officials have said.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.

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