Nansea Bright

Published: Jun 20, 2014 3:00 PM EDT

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Beach-goers will notice equipment on Bonita Beach and Lovers Key as Lee County Natural Resources continues work to renourish the beach, adding sand and stability for the popular south Lee destinations.

Heavy equipment is expected to be on Bonita Beach starting Wednesday, June 25, with work beginning June 30 and proceeding north to south for about five weeks.

The estimated start date for Lovers Key is Aug. 1, with work completed by late September and two dredges working simultaneously from both ends toward the middle. A portion of Little Hickory Island Beach Park will close for the last three weeks of the Bonita Beach project, resulting in a reduction in available visitor parking. Beach access will still be available to Bonita Beach as well as Lovers Key during construction for all areas except for a 500-foot zone where sand is being actively placed.

The projects consist of adding sand to 0.8 miles of Bonita Beach and 1.1 miles of Lovers Key Beach. These new projects include the renourishment of about 9,800 total linear feet of beach, which requires about 401,000 cubic yards of sand that will come from two permitted borrow areas adjacent to Big Carlos Pass. Using off-shore sites for sand means there will be no trucking involved in the Bonita Beach or Lovers Key projects. Turtle monitors will move nests that are laid in the path of the beach equipment as it moves down the beach.

The project is being done by Lee County with additional funding from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the City of Bonita Springs. Combining projects is estimated to have saved taxpayers $1 million; total cost will be about $5 million.

The projects were in the planning phase when in June 2012 Tropical Storm Debby brought storm surge and high waves to Lee County’s shoreline for three days. It caused extensive damage to dunes and the high-beach area.

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