Big Beach Renourishment Project Set

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The Fort Myers Beach Town Council has approved a contract with Ahtna Marine and Construction for the big dredging/pipeline renourishment project expected to begin next month. There was one protest to the bid process so the town does have to work out that issue.

Ahtna was the only company out of three that met the criteria for the project and came in under budget. The total budget to renourish Fort Myers Beach is expected to cost approximately $22 million. Ahtna’s bid came in at $21.7 million. A bid from Callen Marine came in at $37.2 million and Weeks Marine submitted a bid of $38.8 million. A few other companies submitted incomplete bids. Callen Marine is the company that filed the bid protest.

Also this week the Lee County Board of Commissioners approved an inter-local agreement with the town. Lee County owns several portions of the beach; Lynn Hall Park, Crescent Beach Park and Bowditch Beach. The inter-local allows the town to take the lead in getting the project completed. Lee County’s portion of the beach renourishment is being paid for through TDC funding. The county portion is based on a percentage not to exceed $9.2 million. Lee County previously renourished a northern section of the beach, from Bowditch Point to Crescent Beach Family Park, in 2011.

The town had to put the project out to bid a second time after the first round of bids came in millions of dollars over budget. The reason they were so high was due to the work the companies needed to do to work around turtle season and shorebird nesting season. The successful round of bids has the project starting on the north end and working its way down south later in the season.

Shorebird breeding season is February 15th through September. The FDEP permits prohibit construction in the Critical Wildlife Area between March 1 and November 1 for Sea Turtle and Shorebird nesting.

When both the truck-haul and dredging beach renourishment projects are complete, Fort Myers Beach will see $43 million worth of new sand (1.3 million yards). 900,000 yards of the 1.3 million will be from the dredging project with the balance from the truck-haul project.

The approximately $22 Million beach renourishment project is being funded through multiple sources: Lee County, The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, FEMA and the town.

The Estero Island Nourishment Project is a continuation of the town’s long term goal to maintain its critically eroding shoreline. Sand will be pumped from offshore onto the beach via pipes. The design beach will take approximately six months to construct. State and Federal permitting requires monitoring and tilling for several years after the sand is placed. In addition, the Town has obtained authorization for maintenance grading in the project area to maintain a positive grade for better drainage to reduce pooling on the beach for the life of the State permit, which is 15 years

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