Guest commentary: John Sorey: Beach renourishment a great and granular success

John Sorey, Naples mayor, on NewsMakers 05-26-13.

John Sorey, Naples mayor, on NewsMakers 05-26-13.

Guest commentary

I am extremely proud that the 2013 beach renourishment was completed before schedule, on budget and without any issues. The Vanderbilt Beach sector began Oct. 14 and was completed Nov. 14, with delivery of 89,927 tons of sand.

The Park Shore sector began Oct. 16 and was completed Dec. 6, with 122,500 tons delivered.

The Naples beach sector began Oct. 21 and was completed Dec. 10, with delivery of over 10,000 tons.

Renourishment of the Pelican Bay beaches was unfortunately delayed due to a permit challenge and is scheduled to begin during the first two weeks of January.

The quality of sand and professionalism of the contractor, truck drivers and other personnel was outstanding.

Our thanks to Gary McAlpin, Collier County coastal zone manager, for his leadership, planning and execution associated with this project. It takes a team to accomplish this type of success.

I also want to thank Clint Perryman and Ricky Simpson of Collier County; Joe Hennelly and Jerry Henry of Philips & Jordan; Bernie Eastman of Eastman Aggregate; Nick Stewart of Stewart Mining; Steve Keehn and Tara Brenner of Coastal Planning and Engineering; Roger Jacobson, Naples code enforcement and harbor manager; all the Naples Police officers who ensured routes were followed and speed limits observed; and the Collier County sheriff’s deputies who did the same in the county.

This was a very controversial issue with the potential for fatal pitfalls. Many individuals were opposed, including some Naples City Council members. I was committed to the project, as the beaches needed sand; this was the best alternative, with truck haul costing $16 million and dredging costing $32 million; and the risk/reward analysis indicated that the project could be accomplished successfully. Fortunately, it went extremely well.

Because of City Council concern, the city of Naples project was reduced from the six-year template to provide only enough sand to return to an 85-foot beach in Park Shore and 100-foot beach on the Naples beach, with a project cost reduction to $9.6 million. This means, with normal erosion, we will be revisiting the city beaches in two to three years.

Collier County added sand to Vanderbilt Beach consistent with the six-year design authorized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for Tropical Storm Fay damages.

The economic impact on our local economy has been significant.

Some 13,500 truckloads of sand were delivered to the Naples, Park Shore and Vanderbilt beaches. This represents more than $2.5 million paid to local truckers, as many of the drivers were owner/operators. They purchased approximately 460,000 gallons of diesel fuel in Collier County, costing in excess of $1.7 million.

About 317,000 tons of sand was purchased from Stewart Mining, costing $2.7 million. Also, 60 jobs were created at the mine and from the contractors who renourished the beaches.

In addition, 12 local inspectors were hired by Collier County on a temporary basis to aid in construction inspections, sand quality control and quantity confirmation.

Local companies also provided the surveys, material testing, turbidity monitoring and the Naples Police off-duty officers provided traffic coordination on the project, adding an additional $400,000 to the local economy.

When using a normal multiplier, the economic benefit to the local economy has been well in excess of $10 million.

In addition to a wonderful new beach, the greatest accomplishment was more than 1.38 million accident-free, safe miles driven by the truck drivers. This was accomplished by inspection of the trucks before starting the job, education of the drivers as to expectations, enforcement of speed limits and assigned routes and daily monitoring of the project by the entire team.

My appreciation to all for a job well done.

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