Emergency sand removal approved for Anna Maria inlet
The Anna Maria City Commission unanimously approved Mayor SueLynn's request to contract with Duncan Seawall Dock and Boat Lift to dredge sand from the entrance of the Lake La Vista channel.
The mouth of the inlet, just north of the city pier, filled in with sand, the result of Hurricane Jeanne, leaving it impassable by boat. Suelynn said Duncan Seawall was selected for the project because they can address the situation within seven to 10 days.
Duncan Seawall has proposed to place a 62-foot Link Belt long-reach trackhoe partially resting on top of the northwest jetty in order to excavate a 5-foot deep arc.
The trackhoe will reach a little less than halfway to the first channel marker and will only deepen about half the width of the channel. The remainder of the channel and inlet will have to be dredged by barge because the other jetty is too short to reach the sand with a trackhoe.
SueLynn said Duncan has been cautioned to remove only sand blocking the entrance of the channel and not to provide any "maintenance" dredging.
The cost of the project is estimated at $8,000 and will be funded from the line item provided in the city's current budget.
Some commissioners were concerned that the contract lacked a guarantee that boats will be able to navigate the channel after the emergency action, but Commissioner Dale Woodland said it was tough to navigate the channel before the storm. "Prior to Jeanne, we had a 2-foot passage and this dredging promises 5 feet. We'll be better off than we were before Jeanne."
Woodland also asked if warning signs could be posted for incoming boaters that might not be aware of the situation.
With the scope of the dredging project shifting, the city will be going out to bid again for the maintenance dredging of the remainder of the channel.
Commissioners asked that the city not let too much time lag between the emergency sand removal and the start of the maintenance dredging.