Jacksonville, Fla. – Duval County beach visitors will soon see work on local beaches that will improve the coastal area’s resiliency and reduce risk to infrastructure.
The Duval County Shore Protection Project will place roughly 700,000 cubic yards of sand on seven miles of eroded beaches, including Jacksonville, Neptune and a portion of Atlantic Beach. This beach renourishment project will widen the beach berm between 20 to 60 feet, and raise the elevation of the beach by about 3 to 5 feet. The amount of increased beach width and height will vary along the shoreline.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ contractor, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock (GLD&D) Company, is mobilizing their heavy equipment and pipes, which will start arriving Thursday, Aug. 18, at the 16th Avenue South public parking area. The pedestrian walkway will remain open, but the parking lot area will remain closed for equipment staging throughout the duration of construction. Project completion is set for November 2016, barring unforeseen events.
The Dredge Terrapin Island, barges and tug boats, will arrive offshore in early September. Dredging operations will start soon after Labor Day and will run 24 hours daily.
In the interim, GLD&D will start laying subline next week near 36th Ave. South. They’ll deliver truckloads of the shore pipe to the 16th Ave. South staging area. Sublines will extend about 3,000 feet offshore and will be set about 5,000 feet apart. Dredged sand will get pumped through the subline to pipes located on the beach.
The beach will remain open to outside the work areas. The contractor expects to temporarily close at least 1,200 feet of the beach at a time during the project. Public access over the dredging pipes will occur roughly every 300 to 400 feet. The work should proceed about 500 feet – or about two city blocks – along the shore each day.
Beach fill construction will start at the south end of Jacksonville Beach. Initial sand placement will begin with the first pipeline “landing” around 36th Avenue South, progressing southward to the County Line, and then northward from 36th Avenue. The contractor will establish four or five subline/pipeline “landings” on the shore in Jacksonville Beach, one in Neptune and two landings in Atlantic Beach. GLD&D will pump sand through the pipeline toward the south, and then toward the north, from each landing site. The contractor will excavate the sand from an offshore borrow area located in federal waters.
The Corps asks the public to use caution around the construction areas and to be patient with the temporary construction noise as the project progresses. Residents living close to the beach and near the active construction will likely hear heavy equipment and backup alarms.
The goal of engineered shore projects is to reduce risk and promote coastal resilience. Shore projects help to reduce the damages – economic, environmental, infrastructure, human health and safety – of tropical storms and hurricanes. Thousands of residents and businesses in Duval County benefit from this shore project because storm events erode the beach rather than destroying coastal infrastructure. Coastal communities with engineered beaches have historically fared much better than other communities as proven by numerous studies.
Along with providing economic stability and opportunities, beach nourishment projects also have inherent benefits in restoring critical habitat for shorebird and marine turtle nesting.
The Duval County project was initially constructed in 1978-80 and since then, five principal renourishments occurred (1985-87, 1991, 1995, 2005, and 2011) in addition to periodic placement of sand dredged from navigation projects. Beach renourishment occurs about every five to six years to maintain beaches as part of the project.
The Corps awarded the 2016 construction contract June 28 to Great Lakes Dredge & Dock for $13,572,170. The renourishment is funded in partnership with the City of Jacksonville, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and Duval County; 38.4 percent locally and 61.6 percent federally funded.
For more information about the Duval County Shore Protection Project, go to http://www.saj.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Shore-Protection/Duval-County/ or http://olsen-associates.com/duval/.