People who frequent Upham Beach may have recently noticed a large pile of fenced-in rocks with no apparent construction work.
“The work crew has temporarily suspended work because of winter weather,” said John Bishop, Pinellas County’s coastal management coordinator. Part of the reason for the delay has been in the transporting of rocks to the Gulf of Mexico. “They are bringing the large rocks by barge down the Mississippi River and conditions have been poor.”
Weeks Marine, a New Jersey-based company, is the contractor for the project on Upham Beach, which is located at the northern end of the city at the mouth of the Blind Pass Inlet that separates St. Pete Beach from Treasure Island.
The project involves replacing the old sand-filled T-groins with stone groins to help prevent extensive erosion from storm tides and naturally drifting sand. Bishop said there is a tentative schedule right now and there are plans to remobilize in February.
“They will reassess the weather in late January and hopefully re-mobilize in February to start work on groins one and two,” said Bishop. “Three and four are already complete.”
After the groins are installed the beach will be renourished with new sand.
“Everything is still expected to be completed by July 2,” Bishop said.
Renourishment of Upham Beach began in 1975 and has continued in intervals of around every three years since. It is hoped that the large stone groins could save millions of dollars over time because the sand will not have to be replaced as often. The $9.5-million project was paid for by local tax funds and a state grant.