On-site work on the Upham Beach T-Groin Restoration Project continued as scheduled the week after Hurricane Irma came through the Tampa Bay area September 10. The project, which began the first week of August, aims to slow beach erosion at Upham Beach, located south of Blind Pass Inlet, by installing permanent structures called T-groins. According to St. Pete Beach Mayor Alan Johnson, preparations were made at the location in advance of the approaching hurricane.
“A week before the storm, the rocks were unloaded from barges, and the barges were then moved down Blind Pass toward the Treasure Island side,” said Johnson. “Crews were working Tuesday [after the hurricane].”
The $9.5 million Upham Beach project began the first week of August and is being funded through Tourist Development Tax dollars and a state grant. Rock is being barged onto the site instead of transported by trucks along the sand in order to protect the fragile environment. Four rock structures will replace five sand-filled tubes, which were installed in 2005. After the T-groins are installed, the beach will be renourished, then covered with sand pumped from the Gulf of Mexico.
No more than half of the beach is expected to be closed at any time during the restoration. The project is scheduled to be completed by February 2018, depending on weather and surf conditions.