MANATEE -- Work is expected to start early in the new year on a $4.41 million project designed to address erosion of sand along Cortez Beach, county officials said Tuesday.
Cayo LLC of Fort Worth, Texas, is being recommended for the job updating groins in place for decades that are now in disrepair, said Thomas Pierro, a consultant for the county and director of Coastal Planning & Engineering Inc. of Boca Raton.
The Texas company submitted a $4.41 million bid, one of seven the county received, said Pierro. Three bids came in at or lower than county estimates, he said.
Work is slated to take place between Sixth Street South and 13th Street South along Gulf Drive South.
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Groins are pier-like structures that jut out into the Gulf of Mexico to help hold beach sand in place.
"We likely will see demolition of the old groins," said Pierro.
The rebuilt groins will feature permeable and adjustable replacement structures.
"It can allow more or less sand to move through them," Pierro told county commis
sioners during a workshop at the Manatee County Administration Building.
The contract time is expected to be 285 days, he said.
Pierro said he hoped each of the three groins will be done separately.
"Our intent is not to have all three under construction at the same time," he added.
At one point years ago, officials considered removing the groins, recalled Manatee County Commissioner John Chappie, former mayor of Bradenton Beach.
"If you do so, you lose Gulf Drive," interjected Charlie Hunsicker, county director of parks and natural resources, who said he had opposed the idea at the time.
"Being out there 40 years, we know they work," Chappie said.
The county has applied for partial state reimbursement, but intends to begin work as soon as possible in any case, Hunsicker has previously told the Herald.
Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her on Twitter @sarawrites.