ESCAMBIA COUNTY, Fla. (WALA) - Hundreds of thousands of folks flock to the sugar white sands of northwest Florida ever year. They bring millions to the economy in just a few summer months.
Escambia County officials said they'll soon have to take action to stop dangerous erosion that's occurring rapidly along the coastline.
Timothy Day, environmental programs manager for the county, said the erosion is occurring primarily in Perdido Key around the Johnson Beach area.
“Ultimately, without beach nourishment, we’ll see catastrophic failure of private investment. As that goes so will our private infrastructure and roads," said Day.
Day said it began when Hurricane Ivan hit back in 2004. Since then, the problem has only gotten worse. He said even a small storm could cause flooding and significant property damage.
“If you look up and down the beach, there’s barely enough room for the public to lay down towels. There isn’t enough room for emergency officials to respond. The beach is just too narrow at this point," Day said.
The Escambia County County Commission met to request a placeholder for funds from the state. The project will cost around $14 million; $8 million will come from the county, with the remaining $6 million coming from the state.
Day said they’ll use a dredge to take sand from around a mile offshore and put it on the beach.
“We’ll place about a million cubic yards of sand which should be enough to build the beach around a 150 yard from its current location. Then we'll raise the elevation for protection,” said Day.
Officials said they hope to have the Perdido Key project done sometime in 2014.
They say they intend to request funding for a $16 million project to fix erosion on Pensacola Beach. There is no current timetable for that project
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