By Cheryl Blackerby
Dredging of Boynton Inlet, and some structural repairs due to damage from Hurricane Sandy, is scheduled to start in mid-February, but won’t affect public access.
“We had some minor damage in the sand transfer plant at the inlet,” said Dan Bates, deputy director of Palm Beach County Environmental Resource Management. “We were able to get it back working pretty quickly. Some of the stainless steel railing got damaged, as well as some of the panels on the floor of the jetty.”
The concrete panels, which weigh 2,000 pounds each, were meant to move, and they worked as designed to relieve pressure during the storm.
Sandy dumped sand in the sand transfer plant but not in the inlet itself, Bates said. “A good amount of current kept it pretty clean. Every time we dredge the trap, we also dredge the channel and the Intracoastal Waterway.”
Beach-compatible sand from the dredging will go to Ocean Hammock Park. The sand that’s not compatible, mostly rock material, will go to an artificial reef adjacent to the sand trap, and the smaller pieces will be discharged into Half Moon Bay Hole, a deep hole in the Lake Worth Lagoon.
“It’s a pretty small-scale dredge, and won’t take long to do the work. We’re not closing the jetties. People will still be able to go there,” Bates said.
The total cost of the dredging and repairs is $2.5 million, paid for with grants from the Florida Inland Navigation District and by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the city of Boynton Beach and Palm Beach County.
Most of the work will be done by Palm Beach Marine through contractor Center Marine. The Boca Inlet needed no repairs from Sandy, just the usual removal done by the small dredge that works there all year, Bates said.