JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – If you plan to take your out-of-town relatives to the beach this Thanksgiving weekend, be prepared to see some heavy equipment in Jacksonville Beach.
Tractors, pipes, dumpsters and boats are all being used in a renourishment project that is currently underway from the Beach Boulevard beach access north to the pier.
Duval County's beaches normally get a makeover every five to seven years, but one was required after Hurricane Matthew and another is happening now because of Hurricane Irma’s damage last year.
A dredge, which arrived in late October, collects sand out at sea and pumps it through pipes to bring it closer to the shore. The project is federally funded because it's in response to a natural disaster.
A map from the Army Corps of Engineers shows the work recently started at Mills Lane at the southern end of Duval County. It will move north and end around 35th Street near Hanna Park. That’s about an 8-mile stretch.
If you normally use the 16th South beach access, you need to find a new access point until January, when the project is expected to be completed, because that area is being used to store equipment.
The rest of the beach access points will only be temporarily closed.
Beachgoers News4Jax spoke to Wednesday said they're glad the work is being done to improve the beaches.
“It’s so much enjoyment to walk on them, to experience, to see, listen to the water,” Steve Wolfe said. “It’s just like anything else that man can mess up. We need to do the best we can to keep it looking pretty and nice.”
Swimmers and surfers should avoid the areas with equipment, and people living near the construction are asked to be patient while the work is done.
The city of Jacksonville provided an additional $1.7 million that will help renourish dunes from St. Johns County to Hanna Park.