7960652893?profile=originalDredging equipment fills the central beach of Boca Raton in late April.

The pipes and bulldozers were removed after work was halted.

Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

By Steve Plunkett
    
   
The city’s dredge contractor has left Boca Raton after completing about 20 percent of a beach renourishment project between Red Reef Park and the Boca Raton Inlet. It will return in December to finish.
    The city’s permit to dredge was set to expire on April 30.
    Palm Beach County Reef Rescue, a group of scuba-diving conservationists who were monitoring the project, announced the suspension of the work on April 25, less than an hour after the dredge vessel operated by New Jersey-based Weeks Marine Inc. left the site.
    The city hired Weeks Marine to move approximately 530,000 cubic yards of sand from borrow areas offshore onto the area it calls its central beach. The sand was to make approximately 1.45 miles of beach 170 feet wider.
    Work was originally scheduled to begin in February but did not start until the end of March because of bad weather.
    The city had planned to post updates of the project online as well as photo submissions from the public. But it made only three entries:
    • “Weeks Marine Dredge arrived offshore of the project site on 3/29.”
    • “The Contractor began pumping sand onto the beach on March 30, 2016.”
    • “As of April 13, 2016, the Contractor is currently placing sand between Life guard towers 3 and 4 and will continue working south.”
    The renourishment contract is for $11.3 million, with the state and county paying about $4 million.
    The city and the Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District agreed to split the remainder, with each entity paying $3.7 million. The city considers the project to be routine maintenance; the central beach was last renourished in 2006.
    The project caused Gumbo Limbo Nature Center specialists to move the first sea turtle nest of the season, a leatherback’s that was found March 24 in South Beach Park. It and a second leatherback nest were relocated outside the project zone to Red Reef Park.

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