Collier commissioners approve $1.8 million contract to straighten Wiggins Pass

An aerial view of Wiggins Pass in Delnor-Wiggins State Park in North Naples on Monday, April 11, 2011. Tristan Spinski/Staff

Photo by Tristan Spinski

An aerial view of Wiggins Pass in Delnor-Wiggins State Park in North Naples on Monday, April 11, 2011. Tristan Spinski/Staff

— Collier County’s beaches and passes are in line for more than $3.5 million of work laid out in a series of votes by county commissioners Tuesday.

In the largest project, commissioners hired Orion Marine Construction for $1.8 million to straighten Wiggins Pass in North Naples after years of debate and review.

Wiggins Pass has been dredged 13 times during the past 20 years, and the pass has been filling in more quickly in recent years. This has created unsafe boating conditions and beach erosion.

The plans call for removing a natural S-shaped curve in the pass by installing a sand dike to hold the pass in place, extending the time between dredgings and reducing erosion.

Work could get under way in early March and must be completed by the start of sea turtle nesting season in May.

In other votes Tuesday, commissioners agreed to:

■ Hire Atkins North America Inc. to survey Doctors Pass to determine the extent of shoaling in the popular boating pass in Naples. The county also hired the same company to survey the county’s beaches to determine the amount of erosion caused by Tropical Storm Isaac last summer for potential federal reimbursement for damages.

■ Move forward with work to add sand to the South Marco Island Beach and rebuild five rock structures intended to lessen beach erosion there.

■ Approved contributing $350,000 in tourist tax money for a larger erosion control project on Hideaway Beach, which had faced questions about the project’s public benefits.

■ Accept a peer review of the amount of sand to be placed on Vanderbilt, Park Shore and Naples beaches for a major beach renourishment project set to start in late 2013. The report clears the way for the county to begin accepting bids for the work.

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