By Steve Plunkett
A federal contractor could have its dredge off Ocean Ridge’s beach before Thanksgiving.
The shore protection project, another in Delray Beach and a third in Boca Raton make up a $10.8 million contract the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded in September. Boca Raton is paying for a fourth segment at its southern end. Work was to begin Nov. 1 in south Boca Raton, then move to Ocean Ridge around Nov. 20.
Part of the Ocean Ridge job includes removing the top layer of armor stone from the stems of five T-shaped groins. That is expected to lower the crests of the dunes about 2 feet. The excavated armor stone will be removed from the beach.
The Ocean Ridge segment is 1.1 miles of oceanfront, as is Boca Raton’s main project. The Delray Beach work stretches from George Bush Boulevard south also about a mile, city Planning and Zoning Director Paul Dorling said.
Dorling said Delray Beach qualified for $4 million in Hurricane Sandy relief money. That storm passed through just months before the city started a renourishment project in March for the beach south of Atlantic Avenue.
“The reality is [the March project] had nothing to do with the storm,” he said.
The Ocean Ridge project is estimated to cost $6.9 million with 48.7 percent paid by the Corps of Engineers and the remainder split between the state and the county, said Leanne Welch, the county’s shoreline program supervisor.
Charleston, S.C.-based Marinex Construction Inc. will be the only contractor operating a hydraulic dredge in Palm Beach County from November to April, said Jennifer Bistyga, Boca Raton’s coastal program manager.
Bistyga said Marinex’s dredge will start off in south Boca Raton, then work in Ocean Ridge and Delray Beach before returning to north Boca Raton. Dorling said he expects the Delray Beach work to take place in January.
Welch said, “The borrow areas for these projects are located very close to the beach, and because of this a hydraulic dredge will be able to take sand from the ocean floor and pump it directly to the beach.”
Boca Raton will pay $1.7 million for the south beach work but expects the state to pick up 48.9 percent of the cost and the county to pay for 20 percent. That will leave the city’s share at $547,000.