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Kings Bay dredging, Fernandina Beach renourishment starting soon

Sand dredged from Kings Bay to be used at Fernandina Beach

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced start dates on Friday for the upcoming dredging of U.S. Naval Station Kings Bay and a sand placement project at Fernandina Beach. The Corps said the sand dredged from Kings Bay will be used in the Fernandina Beach project, saving about $13.5 million. 

Nassau County residents and visitors will begin seeing construction equipment and dredging pipes on Fernandina Beach around the first week of January in preparation for the next scheduled maintenance dredging of U.S. Naval Station Kings Bay and sand placement at Fernandina Beach, which is scheduled to begin mid-February. 

The project includes maintenance dredging of the entrance channel and parts of the inner channel, returning the project to its authorized depths. It also includes escarpment removal at Fort Clinch State Park and beneficial placement of beach-compatible sand in the northern portion of Fernandina Beach in Nassau County. Regionally managing sediment results in significant cost savings and environmental benefits. 

The awarded beach placement area starts near New York Avenue and will go as far south as near Sadler Road. The Corps estimates the contractor will place about 740,000 cubic yards at Fernandina Beach. The contractor will disperse about 1,020,000 cubic yards of non-beach-compatible material between the approved nearshore disposal area and an offshore disposal site.

The Corps said the beach will remain open to residents and visitors outside the work areas. The contractor expects to close about 1,000 feet of the beach at a time during the project. 

Outside the active fill area, public access over the dredging pipes will occur every 200 to 400 feet. Swimmers and surfers are strongly encouraged to avoid the construction area to avoid injury.

The Corps is asking the public to use caution around construction areas and to be patient with temporary construction noise as the project progresses. Residents living close to the beach and near the active construction will likely hear heavy equipment and backup alarms.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District awarded a nearly $33 million contract to the Dutra Group for the maintenance dredging of U.S. Naval Station Kings Bay and sand placement at Fernandina Beach. 

Sand will be placed on critically eroded portions of Fernandina Beach in areas not routinely renourished.

Sponsored by the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay and the city of Fernandina Beach, the project is critical to commercial cargo transiting the port and also to the Navy base, which shares the entrance channel.  

Fernandina Beach, Nassau County and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection contributed $1.6 million to the project allowing sand placement in critical areas on the beach.

Construction is expected to begin in December and will last for about three months. Dredging will end before March 31, which is the end of the environmental turtle window allowing hopper dredging.

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