By Cheryl Blackerby
New sand has been pumped on Boca Raton’s south and north beaches, and next year it will be the city’s central beach’s turn to be renourished.
Although the central beach didn’t lose as much sand to Hurricane Sandy as the north and south beaches, a recent survey showed that the central beach needs sand. And it will get it next year.
A beach renourishment project is planned for late 2015, said Jennifer Bistyga, coastal engineer with the city of Boca Raton. The central beach hasn’t been replenished since 2006 and is due for regular sand maintenance, usually done at 10-year intervals.
“Overall the beach has receded and is continuing to recede. We plan to put the project up for bid probably May 2015 and anticipate beach construction in late 2015 or early 2016. But we’re hoping for 2015,” she said.
Central beach actually gained some sand since Hurricane Sandy because of the downward drift of sand from the north beach, but the beach still needs more sand due to natural erosion, she said.
Central beach runs from the southern border of Red Reef Park to the Boca Raton Inlet. The beach is expected to gain even more sand from the renourishment in November of the north beach, as some of that sand will also naturally migrate south.
The city hasn’t yet estimated the cost of the central beach renourishment, but hopes to have financial help with the project.
“We anticipate cost-sharing with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and Palm Beach County,” Bistyga said.
The Greater Boca Raton Beach and Park District will pay 50 percent of the city’s share of beach renourishment. The district had budgeted $1.7 million for beach renourishment at central beach in 2014, but that money will now be carried over to the next budget after the city postponed the project.
The dredging project for the north beach, which was hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy, started March 23. Work was halted midway because of bad weather and rough seas, and is expected to start again in November.
“We have about 50 percent left to do. We’re hoping the project will take four to six weeks,” she said.
Boca’s north beach, as well as beaches in Ocean Ridge and Delray Beach that were renourished early this year, are U.S. Army Corps of Engineers projects. The south Boca Raton beach was not an Army Corps project, but the city used the same contractor to save money.
The city had hoped the central beach could have been done soon after the north beach to save more money using the same contractor, which had the dredge in place, but that won’t happen. ;
By Cheryl Blackerby