Construction of groins still expected to begin in January, Army Corps of Engineers says
The contractor for the Lido Key Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project ended up removing 683,084 cubic yards of sand from Big Sarasota Pass for placement on Lido, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) spokesman told The Sarasota News Leader this week.
In the USACE solicitation for the initiative, which was published in December 2019, the total amount of sand was projected to be 710,000 cubic yards. That figure was about 55% of the maximum amount — 1.3 million cubic yards — that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) specified in the permit for the project that it issued to the City of Sarasota and the USACE in June 2018.
The city was the local sponsor for the initiative.
Cottrell Contracting Corp. of Chesapeake, Va., which won the $12,688,582 bid for the work on Lido, completed the placement of sand on the beach on Dec. 12, USACE spokesman David Ruderman of the Jacksonville District Office told the News Leader in a Dec. 16 email. He earlier explained that, because some of the sand was lost to Tropical Storm Eta in early November, the USACE had modified Cottrell’s contract to allow the company to repair that damage.
“The crew has removed all submerged piping and are presently cutting it up at the southern staging area … for removal,” Ruderman added in his Dec. 16 email.
Sarasota County’s Ted Sperling Park, located on the southernmost portion of Lido, has served as the south staging area.
“Cottrell will conduct beach tilling for the final placement area beginning at first light on 12/21,” Ruderman continued. The firm’s crew members expect to finish that “in a day or two,” Ruderman noted. “There will be a beach buggy accompanying the equipment to ensure beachgoer safety,” he pointed out.
The dredge Cottrell has had stationed in Big Pass — the Rockbridge — “will depart soon as it’s ready to go,” Ruderman continued. That is expected “[on or around] 12/25.”
In outgoing Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin’s Dec. 11 newsletter, he noted the new look of Lido Beach: “The initial results of the ongoing renourishment project are remarkable! The beach is probably as wide as it’s been in 25 years. Most importantly, the additional sand will provide a critical natural buffer between the Gulf of Mexico and nearby infrastructure.”
Barwin added, “Thank you to the [USACE] and City Engineer Alex DavisShaw for monitoring the project closely and ensuring the beach is renourished to provide as much protection as possible for infrastructure, property and nesting wildlife.”
Then Barwin pointed out that the next phase of the undertaking would be the construction of two groins “just to the north of Ted Sperling Park, which will help lock in new sand and slow the rate of beach erosion for years to come.”
Barwin added, “In the meantime, please continue to be mindful of active construction on the beach and avoid cordoned off areas.”
Cottrell has hired a subcontractor, Earth Tech Enterprises of Fort Myers, to construct the groins. Around Dec. 28, Ruderman wrote in his Dec. 16 email, that firm will start bringing in stones that will be used in the “marine mattresses” that are an integral part of the groins. The stones will be stockpiled at the Sperling Park staging area, he added.
The December 2019 USACE solicitation for the Lido initiative calls for mattress stones to have “a nominal size between 1.5 and 3.5 inches.”
“Armor stone will be stockpiled there as well when the project gets to that stage,” Ruderman wrote.
The December 2019 solicitation called for the armor stones to be “mostly uniform from 3,000 pounds to 5,000 pounds, with fifty percent (50%) of the stone greater than 4,000 pounds.”
Ruderman also pointed out that the subcontractor expects “to start constructing a test stone mattress in early January and build the first demo section on the beach in early February, but we don’t have set dates for that as yet.”
The USACE solicitation included a section calling for the contractor to “have on-site a representative of the geotextile manufacturer to provide assurance of proper installation procedures, until successful, consecutive placement of two (2) marine mattresses [has] been accomplished.”
“Geotextile” refers to another facet of the groin construction.
The solicitation package further explained that the armor stone must be placed “within the boundary of the marine mattress and not overhang or contact the beach or sea floor. The Contractor shall not dump Armor Stone onto the marine mattresses; rather, each stone must be individually placed. Each stone shall be lowered in place, not dropped in place.”
Further, the solicitation noted that the transportation of equipment or materials associated with the groin construction “is restricted to daylight hours only.”