County dunes restoration project is 'on track'
Flagler County’s dunes restoration project segment at the Washington Oaks State Park coastline was completed Friday, Feb. 23, sticking to the “mile a month” goal, said County Engineer Faith Alkhatib.
At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 21, four hours into the work day, 65 trucks (carrying 20-30 tons of sand each) had dumped about 1,500 tons of sand on the beach, said Project Administrator Alex Spiller during a media tour of the site.
The dunes have about a 14-foot elevation and extend five feet out for every one-foot drop, said Spiller.
Alkhatib said the state provided Flagler County with $1.45 million specifically for the Washington Oaks State Park coastline construction.
“I’m so excited and happy,” Alkhatib said. “So far, everything is going smoothly. The staff is working very hard.”
At the site, six track trucks lined up in a row to fill up with sand, ride over to the damaged dunes to dump the sand, then circle back for refills. The track trucks rotate 360 degrees, making it easier and more effective to drop off sand and turn around without damaging the dune that was just created. Each of the six trucks currently being used cost about $5,000 per week to rent, said Alkhatib.
Spiller said the county met its first month’s goal of restoring one mile of dunes from the southern point of Washington Oaks State Park to Bay Drive Park. After completing the dunes at Washington Oaks State Park on Feb. 23, the next one-mile zone of construction will be from Mala Compra Park to Bay Drive Park.
The total 11 miles of restoration are projected to take about 14-16 months all together, as weather, erosion and high tides can affect construction, said Alkhatib.
“Even from day to day, erosion is occurring, and the actual places were the sand is going are changing,” Spiller said. “The elevation where we put the sand is changing all the time.”
Alkhatib said she walks the project zone two to three times a week to monitor the progress.
“We have to do some vegetation,” she said for one of the county’s next steps to protect the reconstructed dunes. “It’ll be happening soon — hopefully next month.”
Alkhatib said that while the workers are only here five days a week for a total of about 50 hours, the county is looking into the possibility of adding a workday over the weekend to continue to stay on track.
“The dunes are protection for our residents,” Alkhatib said. “We’re doing it together with the DEP as a team effort.”
At the dunes restoration project groundbreaking ceremony at Mala Compra Park on Jan. 27, the county announced the project will cost a total of about $25 million.
“I think we’re on track and doing a great job,” Spiller said. “All the employees are doing great work, and dunes are being built.”