Flagler County, Army Corps dune restoration project gets delayed again

The project will help nourish about 2.6 miles of dunes

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. – A major project to fix part of Flagler Beach’s dunes is being pushed back yet again. The Army Corps of Engineers was slated to start nourishing parts of the dunes this summer that have been demolished in recent hurricanes but now it won’t start anytime soon.

The project will help nourish about 2.6 miles of dunes just south of the city’s pier.

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It was supposed to start this June and be finished by the Fall in time for the next hurricane season, but county engineer Faith Alkhatib says the project may now start in April 2024.

“We need at least six months to update all of these engineering tasks to move on,” she said.

It was first approved in 2018 after Hurricane Matthew but she said two factors are pushing it back.

One is an ongoing battle with a property owner who wouldn’t let them work on their easements for the last two years. Alkhatib said they hope to have that resvolved through the courts this month.

The other is the recent hurricanes caused so much more erosion, it has to be redesigned for more sand and money.

“We’re getting our survey by the end of this month and at that time the quantities really will be identified,” she said.

Alkhatib said when first designed, they needed to bring in about 300,000 cubic yards of sand. Now, she estimates they need about 1.6 million.

She said in 2018 it was also projected to cost about $18 million just for the construction phase but she said it’s estimated to cost much more than that.

“It’s going to be between $35 and $45 million for just the construction phase,” she said.

After 2022′s hurricanes cut into the dunes and A1A, hearing this news is a bit nerve-wracking for some business owners along the road.

“We’ve been so lucky in the past but can’t always bank on it,” said TJ Congemi with The Anchor restaurant.

Congemi said he and his family fear another storm could push in even further if the dunes aren’t protected.

“I know it’s a fluid situation but here in Flagler, we just want to see something get done,” he said.

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Molly joined News 6 at the start of 2021, returning home to Central Florida.