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Beach renourishment reaches final stretch at Coquina Beach

By Rick Catlin, Islander Reporter

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. moved its barges March 13 from a location offshore of the north end of Anna Maria Island to a borrow area closer to Longboat Pass. Islander Photos: Rick Catlin

Beachgoers March 13 at Coquina Beach appear oblivious to the approach of renourishment equipment.

Great Lakes Dredge & Dock equipment March 13 moves south, to pump sand onto the shore at Coquina Beach.

It seems like it’s been a long time coming.

But the two-part renourishment of Anna Maria Island beaches that began Dec. 20 at 79th Street in Holmes Beach is now in its final phase at Coquina Beach in Bradenton Beach.

Renourishment contractor Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. completed its U.S. Army Corps of Engineers renourishment project March 3 at 13th Street South in Bradenton Beach.

Following that $13 million project, GLDD began renourishing Cortez Beach in a separate contract arrangement and continued pumping sand southward, moving to Coquina Beach.

Renourishing of the southernmost island beaches is a $5.7 million Manatee County project under the supervision of the parks and natural resources department.

Department director Charlie Hunsicker said the state would reimburse the county for about half the cost of renourishing the county-maintained beaches.

The county’s share of beach renourishment comes from the tourist development tax fund. That’s the 5 percent tax collected on rentals of six months or less. The money can only be used for tourism-related projects.

Once renourishment is complete, Hunsicker said the department will begin preparing an estimated $2.5 million project to replace groins at Cortez Beach. The groins will be installed there under the supervision of Coastal Planning and Engineering of Boca Raton.

Hunsicker stressed this was only an estimate as bids have not yet been requested. He said he expected the groin project to last nine months.

The new groins will be state-of-the-art equipment and allow marine engineers to control the flow of sand and water to minimize erosion.

Hunsicker said he did not know when a request for bids would be sent groin construction companies.

Any plans to allow pedestrians and anglers on the new groins would come from the Manatee County Commission in conjunction with the Bradenton Beach City Commission, he said.

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