Phase two of San-Cap Road project finished
Last week, the second phase of the emergency shore protection project on Sanibel-Captiva Road near Blind Pass wrapped up, with the installation of a new guardrail and other features set for this week.
On May 21, Sanibel Natural Resources Director James Evans reported that the final grading was completed the day before for phase two, which focused on the last 75 feet of the wall on the west end of the project. He added that the rock had been placed in front of the final 75-foot section of wall.
“They’re placing the remaining sand from the cottages down to the end of the phase two section of wall. They’re doing that now,” he said. “They’re finishing up all of the site work today through Friday.”
The contractor was set to demobilize, removing its equipment over the weekend.
“Beginning next week, they’ll be placing the guardrail,” Evans said last week, noting that it was scheduled to be installed today, May 26, and is expected be completed in two or three days. “Then they will be placing the sod from the edge of the pavement to just on the other side of the guardrail.”
“That will essentially complete the project,” he added.
Finished on April 30 – before the start of sea turtle nesting season as required by a state permit – phase one focused on the east end to within 75 feet of the west end, the “sandy beach portion.”
“The city is going to have staff installing rope and bollards to protect the dune area, so it’s ready for planting,” Evans said. “Then the beach will be fully accessible once the city opens up our beach parks.”
The final step of the project – installing the new plantings on the water-ward side of the wall, and between the wall and guardrail – is expected to take place in mid-June during the rainy season.
“So we don’t have to water the plants,” he said. “We can allow the rain to water the plants.”
This week, the city is expected to obtain quotes for its planting plan. Consistent with its Florida Department of Environmental Protection permit, it entails using native, low-growing dune vegetation. Over 20,000 plants made up of several species will be put in, like sea oats and dune sunflowers.
Evans noted that the intent behind the chosen species is two-fold.
“It’s to secure the sediment along the project area to reduce wave and wind-born erosion and to provide habitat for wildlife and the natural beach ecosystem that we have here throughout Sanibel,” he said.
He added that the city went with low-growing plants because they have an aggressive root structure that will help to further protect the dunes, while maintaining the scenic views along the corridor.
Asked about phase two, Evans reported that it went very smoothly.
“In fact, the entire project went extremely smoothly,” he said. “The project went as planned, and we stayed very close to the schedule that we put forward at the beginning.”
Throughout the project, Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation staff have been involved. Its biologists have been monitoring shorebird activity in the area since the start, with the sea turtle staff taking part since mid-April. They checked the area each morning, then gave crews the go ahead.
“We didn’t have any sea turtle nests within the area,” Evans noted.
For the project, a larger approximately 500-foot armor stone layer was installed 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 was then recreated with sand placement and dune restoration.
The city received a $1,398,450 grant to cover the project’s cost.
“I certainly want to thank all of our partners on this project,” he said, citing Lee County and the Lee County Tourist Development Council for providing the funding to pay for it.
“Our partners at SCCF for working with us on the project, hand-in-hand, on biological monitoring and for allowing us to use some of their land for completing the project,” Evans said.
He expressed his appreciation for the Captiva community and the sister island’s organizations, including the Captiva Erosion Prevention District and the Captiva Community Panel.
“They were all very supportive of this project since its inception,” Evans said. “Without their support, it would have been challenging to get this project funded and completed.”
He also credited Humiston and Moore Engineers and Benton & Sons Construction Company.
“They did a fantastic job throughout this process, even given the challenges we had with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Evans said. “And all the city departments worked together really seamlessly to complete this project on time and within budget.”