You Could Have a Brand New Beach By November


Coastal Engineering President Michael Poff told the Fort Myers Beach Town Council this week that the truck-haul beach renourishment project, taking place now, should be complete by June 1st with the massive dredging project beginning in June. And, Poff says the goal is to have everything done by November 1st.

The current truck-hauling project is filling in scours and repairing beach accesses. When the bigger dredging project begins, sand will be piped onto Fort Myers Beach from several miles out in the Gulf of Mexico. The north and central sections of the beach will be completed first.

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

The start of the dredging project is contingent upon a vendor actually meeting the $22 million budget. A second round of bids will be opened on April 15th and Poff is hopeful a contract will be in place by May with the project underway by June.

The previous round of bids was rejected because they came in $10 million over budget. Poff believes the bids were so high because strict FDEP rules to protect birds and turtles provided contractors with a very tight work window to get the job done. Shorebird breeding season dates for this project area are February 15 through September 1st. FDEP permit conditions prohibit construction in the Critical Wildlife Area between March 1st and November 1st for Sea Turtle and Shorebird nesting. Poff said this created a window of less than 3 months for the contractor to complete the southern segment of the project and that caused the bids by two firms to come in so high. 3 other firms decided not to even bid on the project.

The project was sent out for new bids based on a new timeline allowing companies more flexibility to complete the job. The change also meant the south end will no longer be first. The town was hoping to start the renourishment project on the south end, however the change will move the south end of the project to September.

The approximately $22 Million beach renourishment project is being funded through multiple sources: Lee County ($6,431,534), The Florida Department of Environmental Protection ($14,013,346), FEMA ($1,408,050) and the town ($2,247,741).

How many beach property owners have signed an easement to receive sand behind their properties? According to the latest count from the town, out of the 231 properties eligible for sand, 137 (59%) have responded in the affirmative. 25 (11%) of the property owners have refused the sand and 69 (30%) property owners have not responded to the town. On the north end of the island, 33 of 38 property owners have signed the easement. In the central part of the island, 87 of 172 property owners have signed with 23 of those 172 declining the sand. On the southern end of the island, 17 of 21 property owners will receive the new sand while only 1 property owner refused.


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