Sanibel Beach Recovery Project Start Date Delayed

SC Staff Report

The start of the city’s beach recovery and resilience project has been delayed by a month due to a rebidding of the project. It is now scheduled to begin Dec. 13 with completion on or before April 15, 2024. Expect beach access closures during the project.

Sanibel’s shoreline lost an approximate total of 600,000 tons of sand last year in Hurricane Ian, which left gullies as the storm surge water receded. This project will put about 410,000 tons of sand back into the system from Bowman’s Beach to the lighthouse. The remainder of lost sand is part of a separate state project on the north end of the island.

Sanibel’s Beach Recovery and Resilience project will cover 10 miles of beach, which has been divided into 5 reaches.

“Collectively, over a 10-mile stretch, we are putting sand back into the system and trying to strategically place it in areas to help accelerate dune recovery and provide some upland flooding protection,” said Brett Moore, President of Humiston & Moore Engineers.

Sand will be trucked to the island and placed along the open beach, primarily between the mean-high water line and the existing dune vegetation line, as well as filling those gullies. The project has been divided into five reaches with work happening at two reaches at a time.

Work is expected to be done from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays, no Sundays or holidays. It will take up to 250 20-ton truck loads per work day to complete the project.

Three quarters of the roughly $22 million project cost is funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the remaining quarter is funded by the state. There will be no cost to the city.

It will take about 250 20-ton truck loads per work day to put sand back in the system of Sanibel’s beaches after Hurricane Ian.

“It’s not a gigantic beach restoration project that is going out to the Gulf. The project is fulfilling the intent of the funding we’ve received through FEMA, as well as the beach recovery program that was approved by the Florida legislature,” said Moore.

Once the project is finished, the beach profile will be very close to pre-storm conditions.

In the meantime, the city is asking Gulf-front property owners to return their signed temporary beach management and access easement form, which will ensure the city can accomplish this critical island-wide beach project.

Any one with questions about the project should contact the Natural Resources Department by phone at 239-472-3700. See the full project construction plans here. 

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