Town of Palm Beach News

Midtown Beach Erosion Solution Delayed

The Shore Protection Board in Palm Beach was scheduled to hear a proposal on Thursday, Jan. 24, to combat the erosion stretching from The Breakers to Midtown Beach, the Palm Beach Daily News reported Friday.

However, no such proposal was given, because the presentation was not ready.

Michal Jenkins, speaking on behalf of Applied Technology & Management, Palm Beach’s engineering consultant, told the board that coming up with a solution was taking longer than originally expected.

Jenkins said that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection suggested that that Applied Technology & Management form a technical advisory committee to review the consultant’s progress and provide input. This committee, Jenkins explained, while helpful, is slowing down the study.

“We are not left to our own devices to complete the work. We’re handing it off to others to review. And in that review we’re getting questions: ‘Hey, could you look at this? Could you look at this?’” Jenkins said. “So that has (increased) our scope.”

Director of Public Works Paul Brazil seemed concerned about the missed deadline. “The bottom line is we’re late…We’re not where we wanted to be.”

Midtown Beach Erosion Solution Delayed

Jenkins hopes to present a solution proposal at the board’s April meeting.

The beach, however, may not have that much time.

Midtown beach has suffered unusually extreme erosion since the area was last fully nourished in 2015. The Town wanted to determine the cause of the erosion and come up with a solution before its next nourishment of the Midtown area, which Brazil said on Thursday is scheduled to be in 2020.

But the delay in proposing a solution may make that deadline difficult to meet, Brazil told the board.

“So we’re already too late,” board member Melissa Ceriale said.

“I’m afraid we may be,” Brazil admitted. “And that’s why I’m bringing it up.”

“That’s fairly tragic,” Ceraile said.

Related >>> $17 Million Midtown Sand Nourishment Project Washed Away

According to Palm Beach town officials, the severe erosion may be stemming from the the reconstruction of The Breakers breakwaters and groins in 2012. Town officials are concerned that the reconstruction may have at the very least contributed to the extreme erosion. Both The Breakers and the Town have since hired engineering consultants to look into the problem.

After a solution is proposed, the town will obtain state and federal permits for the erosion project. It is unknown how long the permit process may take.

The council has already approved $189,000 for design work for a plan to build sand-trapping structures and modify groins. The project is expected to cost a total of $3.6 million, not including the cost of sand.

Chairman Llwyd Ecclestone told Jenkins to come back for the board’s April meeting. “This is where we oughta come down to some pretty definite schedules.”

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Alanna Barrett

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