The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District, recently awarded a $32.8 million contract to the Dutra Group for the next scheduled maintenance dredging of U.S. Naval Station Kings Bay and sand placement at Fernandina Beach.
Sand will be placed on critically eroded portions of Fernandina Beach in areas not routinely renourished. Using sand dredged from the Kings Bay Entrance Channel on Fernandina Beach will result in an overall cost savings of approximately $13.5 million.
Sponsored by the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay and the City of Fernandina Beach, the project is critical to commercial cargo transiting the port and also to the Navy base, which shares the entrance channel. Fernandina Beach, Nassau County, and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection contributed $1.6 million to the project allowing sand placement in critical areas on the beach.
The project includes maintenance dredging of the entrance channel and parts of the inner channel, returning the project to its authorized depths. It also includes escarpment removal at Fort Clinch State Park and beneficial placement of beach compatible sand the northern portion of Fernandina Beach in Nassau County. Regionally managing sediment results in significant cost savings and environmental benefits.
The awarded beach placement area starts near Fort Clinch State Park’s coastal boundary near New York Avenue and will go as far south as near Sadler Road. The Corps estimates the contractor will place about 740,000 cubic yards at Fernandina Beach. The contractor will disperse about 1,020,000 cubic yards of non-beach compatible sand between the approved nearshore disposal area and an offshore disposal site.
Construction is expected to begin in December and will last for approximately three months. Dredging will end before March 31, which is the end of the environmental turtle window allowing hopper dredging.
A Corps representative will provide a project overview at the City of Fernandina Beach City Commission meeting Tuesday, November 21 at 6 p.m. at the City Hall Commission Chambers, 204 Ash Street, Fernandina Beach, Fla.