Fort Myers Beach, Fla -- Mother Nature puts a stop to a Fort Myers beach project that was supposed to be done last month. The storm system is already making its way to Fort Myers beach. With high winds in the forecast, the beach renourishment is put on hold once again.
Monday afternoon, Fort Myers beach was virtually empty with the exception of a few tourists. Steve Braunstein and his wife are visiting south Florida from Texas. "Where we live in Texas we've had a drought for almost a year, so we're happy to see rain wherever it is," Braunstein says.
The rain, a product of a system heading towards southwest Florida is putting a damper on the Fort Myers renourishment project; a project that was supposed to wrap up mid September. Robert Neal is the project manager with Lee County Natural Resources Division. "We see them come so close and the finish line is in sight. We just want to finish it and cross that line," says Neal. Crews started dredging a mile long section of the beach in May, but came across several setbacks. They are just two thirds of the way through the project five months later. This summer work was delayed because of equipment problems and weather. Neal says the equipment problems have been fixed and crews are working twice as fast as before. Neal says, unfortunately, anytime there are high winds, especially out of the southwest, the dredging project is forced to shut down. "We see the beach as they build it and it looks great. We're anxious for that to be a completed project and open it up to our guests and visitors and residents so we can enjoy it," Neals tells WINK.
The Best Western is just feet away from the construction that now sits idle. The manager says he's not worried about the rain delay, just the final product. Tim Malbon says, "You can see it's going to be a beautiful beach and there's been weather delays and mechanical delays. Things like that are going to happen. Once it's all finished it's going to be great."
As soon as the storm passes through, crews will be back to work. They are expected to finish the project by December 31st, even with the delay from this storm.