| Palm Beach Daily News
Six months after being replenished with offshore sand and despite recent storms, Midtown Beach and the surrounding coastline is “performing very well,” according to a report by Coastal Project Manager Rob Weber.
Weber presented the current shoreline conditions report to the Shore Protection Board Thursday, with several before-and-after photos of replenished beaches.
The shoreline from Casa Bendita south to Banyan Road, including Midtown Beach, received 700,000 cubic yards of sand. The work began in March and ended ahead of schedule on May 1, despite the coronavirus pandemic.
Weber said that even after Tropical Storm Isaias, which skirted the Palm Beach County coast in August, the beaches remained in very good shape.
“After the renourishment project was completed, more than 100 feet of beach was placed in the Municipal Beach area, and that remains even after Isaias,” Weber said.
Contractor Weeks Marine used two dredges to scoop sand from an offshore site near the Palm Beach Inlet and pump it onto the beach, where bulldozers smoothed it into place.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which was in charge of the federal project at Midtown, awarded Weeks Marine the contract to do the work for $19.1 million. The Army Corps paid half the cost, with the town, Palm Beach County and the state sharing the remainder.
The project marked the first time Midtown Beach was rebuilt under the leadership of the federal government.
Between hurricanes Matthew in 2016 and Irma in 2017, Midtown lost more than 500,000 cubic yards of sand, about half of its volume.
Weber said the most visible improvement to the shoreline is in the Reach 3 area, from El Mirasol to Via Bethesda, which was significantly eroded before the renourishment.
“Before, the shore was very close to the seawall. After Isaias there was some overwash, but other than that, the beach remained in place,” he said.
Weber also said the recent renourishment is performing much better than the previous one done in 2015 so far, particularly in the beach near Clarke Avenue.
“In 2015 this area eroded rapidly even after we had nourished it, so this project is performing very well in comparison,” he said.
However, some areas along the shoreline such as from Sloan’s Curve to The Ambassador Hotel in Reach 7 have been affected by recent storms, Weber said.
Weber said the area will be getting sand over the next few months from a beach nourishment project in Phipps Ocean Park and nearby dune restoration.
The project will also include Reach 8, from The Ambassador Hotel to La Bonne Vie Condominiums, and Reach 9 in South Palm Beach. Public Works Director Paul Brazil said South Palm Beach will reimburse the town for that work.
Shore Protection Board Chair E. Llwyd Ecclestone and board member James Gavigan expressed their concern over the loss of shoreline in the beach adjacent to The Beach Club, located in Reach 2, which extends from Onondaga Avenue to El Mirasol.
“I’ve never seen the water that high. There is no beach,” Ecclestone said.
Brazil said one of the challenges in Reach 2 is the conditions and resources of the beach there.
“Getting a permit to place large volumes of sand here isn’t going to happen. We’ve visited this before and it’s not a practical alternative,” Brazil said. “What we can do is mechanically bring sand down from Reach 1, Lake Worth Inlet to Onondaga Avenue. (The ) council has financed a project to mechanically bring that sand as far south as we can, and hypothetically we could get to The Beach Club, but it isn’t going to happen any time soon.”