Beachgoers might want to avoid the sand on Miami Beach near 46th and 54th streets for the next few months as the shoreline gets a much-needed facelift.
During the coming weeks, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will start trucking in loads of sand to extend the eroded shoreline near 46th and 54th streets by about 230 feet. The sand in these areas has eroded, and the distance from the dunes to the water is shorter than usual.
The Corps said the $11.9 million project to create a wider shore is important for protection from storm surge in the event of a hurricane, in addition to giving tourists more room to sunbathe.
“The renourished beach will help protect infrastructure, including iconic, historically and architecturally significant buildings on South Beach,” said Laurel Reichold, Corps project manager. “The Corps builds beaches to protect infrastructure, preserve wildlife, support the economy, and build coastal resiliency. Widening the beach to about 230 feet also improves habitat for sea turtle nesting.”
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The federal government is shouldering about half the cost of the work. Tallahassee and Miami-Dade County will split the rest.
Workers with the contractor, Eastman Aggregate Enterprises, began setting up a staging area Tuesday morning at the 46th Street beach access. In a few weeks, trucks will bring in 220,000 cubic yards of sand from a sand mine southwest of Lake Okeechobee. The contractor will work weekdays and weekends, as needed, with delivery of sand from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and beach work occurring from sunrise to sunset.
The sand placement will start at 46th Street and is expected to be done Nov. 9. The 54th Street location should be done by spring 2017. The areas that will be affected by construction include the 4400-4700 and 5300-5500 blocks of Collins Avenue.
Some beach areas might be closed to the public for safety.
“I would encourage beachgoers to avoid the area impacted by construction,” said Betsy Wheaton, the city’s environment and sustainability director. “The rest of our beaches are open.”
According to the Corps, Miami-Dade County will be monitoring migratory shorebirds and sea turtles. Turtle nests will be relocated before construction begins, and if sea turtles arrive after work starts, construction will pause.