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Vilano Beach Is Taller, Wider as Restoration Project Continues

Posted on December 10, 2020

VILANO BEACH, Fla. — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been widening and restoring a three-mile stretch of Vilano Beach in St. Johns County.

In the last three months of the project, the landscape of the beach is vastly different. The project to restore this part of Vilano Beach that was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew — and is happening right in the back of The Reef Restaurant, 4100 Coastal Highway, St. Augustine.

“It’s been quite fascinating to watch. Oh it’s changed a lot,” said manager Jeremy Ticehurst. “They’re working 24-7.”

Last weekend, the beach behind the restaurant was still eroded. To get from the parking lot to the beach, patrons had to walk down a couple of flights of stairs.

But sand has been brought in to build up the beach at least 12-to- 14 feet higher than it was. The beach now covers those stairs and is almost level now with the restaurant.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, work will proceed along the coast 100-to- 500 feet a day.

Ticehurst said, “This project has just changed everything.”

About 1.3 million cubic yards, or the equivalent of about 93,000 dump trucks of sand, is being dredged from the Intracoastal Waterway near the Castillo de San Marcos. The sand is pushed into pipes that run along the beach, the sand spits out onto the coast and then bulldozers spread it.

“It’s quite a feat of engineering,” Ticehurst said.

The build-up of the beach makes Ticehurst feel a little more secure about the restaurant on the beach. “I’ll take whatever they’ve got. It’s so much better than having high tide lap up against my pilings!”

The Army Corps says the project cost approximately $26 million. Property owners along the coastline agreed to be taxed extra to help pay for the sand.

The project is expected to wrap up in early 2021.

Source: firstcoastnews

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