Work began this week on the largest beach renourishment project in the Port Canaveral area of the five that have occurred since 1995.
The $18 million, federally funded project will restore sand to 3.5 miles of beaches, stretching from Port Canaveral’s Jetty Park to south of Cocoa Beach Pier.
“That is a great addition to Jetty Park beach and the beaches in the northern part of Cocoa Beach,” Port Canaveral Chief Executive Officer John Murray told port commissioners this week.
“It’s a huge project,” Port Canaveral Environmental Director Bob Musser Jr. “It’s the biggest project we’ve ever done” of this type.
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The work, however, will result in temporary restrictions on public access to sections of beach within about 1,000 feet of the daily construction activity for about three to four days at a time.
Murray said the work will be “a little bit disruptive” at times for beachgoers.
Here are 12 things to know about the five-month project, according to officials at Port Canaveral:
Just how big is the project?
The project — formally known as Phase V of the Canaveral Harbor Federal Sand Bypass Project — will move about 1.34 million cubic yards of sand to replenish 3.5 miles of beach south of Port Canaveral.
The project will pump sand taken from the shoreline north of Port Canaveral along Cape Canaveral Air Force Station to beaches south of the Canaveral Inlet.
The sand will go on beaches from Jetty Park to a 0.6 miles south of the Cocoa Beach Pier, just north of State Road 520.
How is the project being funded?
The project is funded and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Additional funding for supplemental elements of the project — such as environmental monitoring — is provided by the Canaveral Port Authority and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.
The Canaveral Port Authority is the project sponsor.
Who is doing the work?
The Army Corps of Engineers in September awarded Norfolk Dredging Co. of Chesapeake, Virginia, the $18 million contract for the project.
Olsen Associates Inc., a Jacksonville-based coastal engineering firm has been contracted by the port to provide consulting services for the project.
The U.S. Air Force’s 45th Space Wing and Brevard County are providing logistical support.
How does the project work?
Last week, the derrick barge Atlantic from Norfolk Dredging began excavating a trench across the Port Canaveral entrance channel for a temporary pipeline to transport the sand.
The 24-inch-wide pipeline was placed just below the authorized depth of the inlet channel to not impact or interfere with ships entering and exiting the port.
The dredge Charleston will pump a mixture of sand and seawater through the pipe, across the inlet and onto the beach.
Where is the work occurring?
Sand placement will begin about a quarter-mile south of the inlet, proceed north to Jetty Park, then move south along beaches in Cape Canaveral to north Cocoa Beach. The project will end about 0.6 miles south of Cocoa Beach Pier.
The sand placement initially will widen beaches by about 150 feet, after which the sand will drift southward, maintaining Brevard’s beaches at their historic dimensions.
Murray said the project “is critically important to preserving this coastal region, and we are grateful to our federal partners for their support and commitment to our area. Our businesses, as well as the well-being of nearby residential communities, depend on the responsible use and protection of our land and waters.”
Most of the dredging and beach fill equipment initially is being mobilized to the beach at Washington Avenue in Cape Canaveral and at Jetty Park.
What’s the purpose of the timing of the project?
The project is scheduled to last through late April.
Work was scheduled to take place during this time period to avoid sea turtle nesting season.
How fast with the project proceed?
Beach fill work is expected to progress from the Canaveral Inlet to the south at about 100 feet to 150 feet a day.
What are the working hours for the project?
The project is permitted for, and will be constructed, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
What is the history of this work?
The man-made Canaveral Harbor Inlet interrupted the southerly drift of sand along the Atlantic shoreline, allowing sand north of the inlet to build, while sand along beaches to the south eroded.
Sand project work began in 1995, after the port’s north jetty was lengthened to keep sand from drifting into the harbor entrance.
Previous projects in 1995, 1998, 2007 and 2010 pumped a combined 3.44 million cubic yards of sand onto nearby beaches.
The project previously has been constructed in spring 1995 (about 960,000 cubic yards of sand), spring 1998 (about 1.03 million cubic yards), fall 2007 (about 750,000 cubic yards) and spring 2010 (about 700,000 cubic yards).
Because it has been 8½ years since the last project, the 2018-19 project will move a much-larger volume of sand and place it farther south than previous projects.
How will vibration issues be dealt with?
A structural engineering firm is contracted to monitor vibrations from the construction equipment throughout the project.
What about noise issues?
The backup alarms on the machinery being used cannot be turned off.
The alarms are a safety device required by federal law to protect people from being hit by machinery when the driver is unable to see directly behind his equipment.
How can the public track the progress of the work?
Progress updates on the project will be posted each week on the port’s website (www.portcanaveral.com), along with maps depicting current beach fill locations and construction schedule updates.
Musser said signs are being placed at public beach access points in the work zone explaining the projects. The signs include a “QR code” to help beachgoers get additional information on their smartphones through the port’s website.
“It’s a wealth of information,” Musser said.
Berman is government editor at FLORIDA TODAY.
Contact Berman at 321-242-3649
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