San-Cap Road shoreline project pushing forward
As of late last week, the emergency shore protection project along Sanibel-Captiva Road near Blind Pass was moving along ahead of schedule after getting an unexpected head start in February.
On April 2, Sanibel Natural Resources Director James Evans explained that construction started on Feb. 13, only a few days after a pre-construction meeting. The contractor hired for the project, Benton & Sons Construction Company, was able to finalize the bid, insurance and such quicker than usual.
“Which put us in the position to start construction a little over two weeks ahead of schedule,” he said.
For the project, a large approximately 500-foot armor stone layer is being added along an existing buried revetment, plus the installation of a Truline system – steel, concrete and vinyl combined into a one wall system. The dual-interlocking vinyl form encases or protects the concrete and steel rebar.
A soft shoreline will then be created with sand placement, dune restoration and new vegetation.
Since mid-February, all of the sheet piles – the vinyl-cell technology called Truline – have been driven into the ground and the cells filled with concrete and rebar. The contractor then poured about half of the concrete of the cap, which sits on top of the system, and then formed the rest of the cap.
“They are planning to finish the remaining section of the cap this week, and it’ll be completed by Saturday,” Evans said last week, noting that the large riprap or rock has been transported to the site.
“And they’ll begin hauling sand to the site and stockpiling it,” he said.
Once the cap is finished, the contractor will start placing the rock along the frontside and backside of the wall to create the revetment. Following the rock, the 5,000 cubic yards of sand will be placed.
A new guardrail will also be installed to protect motorists.
“That guardrail will be installed over probably the next two to three weeks,” Evans said.
The replacement of an LCEC pole slowed things down a bit at the project’s start.
“But we’ve been able to catch up some of that time that was lost,” he said.
Evan explained that due to COVID-19 and government regulations stemming from it, there has been less traffic. As a result, the contractor has been able to move rapidly to get the materials to the site.
“They have been able to move quicker than anticipated,” he said, adding that the team is exempt from the “stay at home.” “They will be able to continue to work while the governor’s order is in place.”
The plan is to complete the project by May 1 in order to not impact sea turtle nesting season.
“So we remain ahead of schedule at this point,” Evans said. “We’re on schedule.”
Before the project’s start, the city approved putting temporary measures in place to protect the area from further erosion after staff reported that recent cold fronts were having a serious impact. A double row and single row of one-ton sandbags were set up, staying in place during the permanent project.
“That will be pulled once the rock and sand is put into place,” he said.
As for the new plantings, Evans explained that the last step can be done after the area is open.
“We have a vegetation plan, which we are seeking quotes for as we speak,” he said.
Once a contractor is selected for the job and it is safe to come out and do the work, the new plantings will be put in. Meanwhile, a temporary rope and bollard can be installed to protect the dune area.
“Typically, we like to do plantings closer to rainy season,” Evans said.
He explained that the goal is to complete the project in time for when the beaches are back open to residents and visitors, so that it can serve as an area for people to use and as a draw for tourism.
The city received a $1,398,450 grant from the Lee County Tourism Development Council to cover most of the project’s cost – minus the guardrail, but including $38,450 in emergency city funding that went toward the temporary measures of vegetation removal, site preparation and placing sandbags.
“It’s another demonstration of our partnership with Lee County,” he said.
The city’s engineer on the project is Humiston and Moore Engineers.