Looking north from Longboat Pass at the wide expanse of beach March 20 created by renourishment. Some equipment of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. still remains on the shore at Coquina Beach, but workers were making progress on removing the equipment. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock completed two renourishment projects on Anna Maria Island from 79th Street North in Holmes Beach to Longboat Pass in Bradenton Beach. This view of Cortez Beach taken March 20 shows the beach free of equipment. Islander Photo: Rick Catlin
Anna Maria Island’s shore is renourished.
The project that began Dec. 20 at 79th Street officially ended March 13, when the last area of Coquina Beach south to Longboat Pass in Bradenton Beach was renourished by Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co.
“All beach renourishment is done, including Coquina Beach,” said Cindy Gray of the Manatee County Parks and Natural Resources Department.
Department director Charlie Hunsicker said GLDD worked 24/7 to complete the two projects, with the exception of some weather delays.
The first phase of work was from 79th Street to 13th Street South at the south end of Cortez Beach. This project was completed under a contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and cost about $12 million.
From Cortez Beach to Longboat Pass, encompassing Coquina Beach, the renourishment was a state and county project under the direction of Manatee County.
Manatee County paid $5.7 million for phase 2 and will be reimbursed by the state for about half that amount, Hunsicker said.
County funds come from the 5 percent resort tax, which can only be used for tourism-related projects, such as beach renourishment.
By having both projects done back-to-back, the county saved about $3 million in startup costs, which were paid by the corps, Hunsicker said.
“This successful project came to pass through the many efforts and communications between federal, state and local project managers,” he said.
The island’s beaches “are in their best shape since 1992. My thanks and gratitude go out to all our business owners, community member and visitors who exhibited great patience and understanding during this short period of the project,” Hunsicker added.
“We can now look forward for many years to beautiful sandy beaches providing wonderful recreation, protection of property, and sanctuary for our shorebirds and nesting marine turtles.”
Despite some weather delays, the projects took less than three months to complete.
Anna Maria beaches were not included in the renourishment because marine engineers found them “to be in good shape,” Hunsicker said.
The next project is for Cortez Beach, where the county will construct of state-of-the-art groins to control the flow of water and sand in that area.
Replacements for the three Cortez Beach groins should commence in the late summer of this year and last about nine months, Hunsicker said.