By Josephine Fuller, Contributing Reporter
MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, awarded a $16 million construction contract for the ‘Miami Beach Hotspots’ beach renourishment project, to help combat shore erosion and protect against potential hurricane storm surge.
The areas defined as hotspots are the beaches at 27th street, 44th street, 55th street and 66th street. A press release said, “The project will help provide storm protection for the coastal population and infrastructure, habitat for several endangered animals including sea turtles, and recreational beaches for visitors and residents.”
Budgeted at almost $15,949,855, Eastman Aggregate Enterprises, LLC, of Lake Worth, FL, was awarded the work on September 11th to bring in approximately 305,000 cubic yards of sand to beachfront areas.
Laurel Reichold, Senior Project Manager, explained, “The Dade County Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection Project’s primary purpose is to provide coastal storm risk protection and management. It is a vital component of the community’s overall resiliency strategy.”
Adding, “The project design takes into account sea level rise and storm surge and is optimized to decrease storm damages to critical infrastructure along the coast. The beach berm and dunes and other engineering structures along the project length act as the first line of defense.”
A public meeting was held on October 22nd, for the beach renourishment project, where the the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach reviewed the effort along with the contractor.
Construction is due to begin in December and last about six months. Workers will be present seven days a week, but no work will take place from 7PM to 7AM on the beach, or from 11PM to 6AM at the staging areas.
Around the work sites, residents are asked to use caution when traveling in these areas as the project will require trucks carrying loads of sand to frequently enter and exit construction zones.
Reichold shares, “Overall, the biggest challenge with the project is maintaining authorized project dimensions (beach berm width and height) against increasing storm intensities and durations.”
“In addition, costs for maintaining the project are steadily increasing and sources of sand proving more difficult to obtain at reasonable prices and without environmental impacts,” she adds.
As for the wildlife on the beaches, Miami-Dade county will be on the lookout for shorebirds and sea turtles, and relocate nests if necessary. Part of the project works also includes monitoring endangered species, according to the contract.
“After daily environmental species monitoring and sea turtle nest relocations have been completed and the area has been cleared for construction, beach work will commence,” the press release states. “However, construction operations in the area will cease if sea turtles are present at any time.”
This is the latest phase of the renourishment project under the Miami-Dade County Beach Erosion Control and Hurricane Protection Project. There are four phases that are all being carried out by the Army Corps of Engineers, and the project is 100 percent federally funded.