Large machinery, tugs, and pipelines, floating off the beaches of Anna Maria Island, provide eery sights, with powerful engines and pumps sending sand from the sea bottom to the shoreline while dredging operations continue over several weeks.
Federal, State, and County taxpayers are providing Great Lakes Dredge and Dock $13 million to move sand from offshore to onshore in order to widen the beach, beginning at 79th Street, Holmes Beach, and moving south 4.7 miles to 38th Street, Bradenton Beach.
Anna Maria Beach is not included in this project because the coastal properties are considered adequately protected from erosion.
An additional subsequent contract of $3 million extends the beach widening further south along Coquina Beach Park.
The Holmes Beach – Bradenton Beach contract began December 20th and scheduled for completion within 60 days, by February 18th. The Coquina Beach Park work continues through end of April.
The sand mining halted on a number of occasions when high winds endangered pipelines and equipment. While the large dredge scours out the sand offshore, the pipeline outlet onshore gushes the slurry for bulldozers and excavators to spread out along the shoreline. Up to 1000 feet of beachfront accretion per day is possible before equipment is repositioned to the next section.