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Work begins to restore 22 sand groins on Madeira Beach

Posted on May 13, 2024

Over the next 9 months, you’ll see heavy machinery and crews on the beach strengthening existing sand groins.

Beginning this week, work has begun to prevent sand erosion on a Pinellas County Beach. It’s unlike the typical sand renourishment projects that take place up and down Tampa Bay’s Gulf Coast.

On Madeira Beach, there are 37 sand groins buried along the 2-mile stretch of beach. Twenty-two of those 37 groins will be strengthened with aluminum and cement over the next 9 months.

You may wonder — what exactly is a sand groin?

“They are essentially about 200 feet long pieces of metal, aluminum, and cement that have been in place since the late 1950s,” Robin Gomez, the Madeira Beach city manager explained.

They’re mostly buried under the sand. The metal structures prevent the gulf currents from washing away the sand, especially when storms pass through.

“The majority of the work is to strengthen them; we are adding casing around the existing cement that’s in the ground– cement and metal, and then we’re reinforcing it with more cement,” Gomez said.

Gomez said none of the groins need to be replaced in their entirety. They’ve been in place for more than 70 years.

“[It was] originally wooden beach groins, then they went to the cement and the metal pieces… The city has been maintaining them since.”

This work requires permits, but unlike the sand renourishment projects in Pinellas County, it does not require perpetual property easements.

“Madeira Beach has not had any sand placed or replaced to strengthen to widen our beach,” Gomez said.

Madeira Beach has had work done to restore the dunes in the past year.

As the work begins now to strengthen the sand groins, crews are working around the tides and the turtles. Sea turtle nesting season has recently begun in Pinellas County.

“If anything has been marked, our contractor will not work anywhere near that area until the nest is gone,” Gomez shared.

The project cost the city of Madeira Beach $3.8 million and is expected to be completed by February 2025.


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