June 30 the deadline for finishing initiative for county to receive FEMA grant to cover most of expense
June 12 marked a major milestone for the South Siesta Key Beach Repair Project, Sarasota County staff announced: It was the last day of sand delivery for the undertaking.
Altogether, a county website update said, 90,500 cubic yards of sand had been delivered to the construction site, which the contractor has accessed through the county’s Turtle Beach Park.
Staff had estimated that 92,500 cubic yards of beach-compatible sand from an inland mine approved by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) would be needed for the initiative. The goal has been to repair damage inflicted on the shoreline in September 2016. Only about four months after a county contractor finished the second renourishment of south Siesta beach, Hurricane Hermine — churning through the Gulf of Mexico — produced significant erosion in portions of the project area.
The June 12 update pointed out, “Residents and visitors will notice a decrease in the number of trucks traveling along Midnight Pass Road as the contractor continues to spread sand along the southern area of the project.”
On May 23, staff reported that the contractor had completed the northern portion of the project. During a December 2022 presentation to members of the Siesta Key Association (SKA), county Project Manager Curtis Smith explained that the repair initiative’s limits would extend from “barely up into the Sanderling Club rock revetment system [to] about 250 feet or so south of the last house on the south part of the Key.”
On the morning of June 19, Jamie Carson, director of the county’s Communications Department, interviewed Smith on Facebook for another update.
“There’s a gigantic mound of sand missing this morning,” Carson pointed out.
“Absolutely!” Smith responded. “The sand is now on the beach or in the dune. … That’s a huge milestone for us.”
Slowly, he added, the contractor is “bringing the heavy equipment off the site.”
That morning, one area of Turtle Beach Park remained off limits to members of the public “for their safety, Smith noted.
“How much longer,” Carson asked, until all of the construction cones and equipment are gone?
Smith estimated a couple of weeks for “final clean-up” and some finishing touches, after all of the equipment has been removed.
To meet a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) deadline for a grant that will cover 87.5% of the total expense, the initiative has to be completed by June 30, Rachel Herman, manager of the county’s Environmental Protection Division, has pointed out to the county commissioners.
On March 7, the County Commission approved an extra $7,709,200 for the repair work, given the two bids that the Procurement Department had received for the work and staff’s learning of bid amounts for a similar undertaking on Fort Myers Beach.
The firm that won the Sarasota County bid was Ahtna Marine & Construction Co. of Irvine, Calif. The contract calls for it to receive $8,284,283.10. Work began April 24.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Sarasota Audubon Society are continuing daily sea turtle and shorebird monitoring at the project site, staff has pointed out.
For more information about the project, visit scgov.net/beachrepair.