$31.5 million Pinellas Beach renourishment project nearly complete

11:17 PM, Oct 18, 2012   |    comments
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Indian Rocks Beach, FL- A six month, $31.5 million project to renourish Pinellas Beaches is just about a month away from completion, and already many areas from Sand Key down to Indian Rocks look like totally new beaches.

On Indian Rocks Beach, ask just about anyone, and you'll get a similar reaction.

"Just having really nice, soft, white sand, it's not like walking on pebbles," said new Florida resident Robert Sylvester. "It's just beautiful."

See photos of the beautiful beaches as they near full complete renourishment

Along with the sunsets and surf, it's the sand most agree that makes Pinellas Beaches so special. That's why county and state leaders are spending so much money protecting what we have, and replenishing what was lost during the erosion of Tropical Storm Debby earlier this year.

"It's a huge boost to tourism. It's critical to our economy and provides a great deal of money to the system," says Pinellas Coastal Manager Andy Squires.

The sand is dredged from 12 miles off shore and barged in to a pipeline where it's pumped back on shore.

"The beach is just prettier because they've brought in so much of the fresh sand," said Sylvester. "It was interesting watching them filter the sand and spread it around."

The county admits the project can be an inconvenience for some.

"It's noisy, it's dirty, it's kinda of haste for people in the way of the project, but they're all usually happy when it's done," said Squires.

Before and after photos show the difference, between 90 and 185 feet of new shoreline.

"You've got quite a bit of new beach virtually instantaneously overnight," said Squires.

And while the project is wrapping up on the north Pinellas beaches, already the county is planning for next year. They hope to get funding to renourish beaches further to the south, including Upham and Pass-a-Grille- both hit hard during Tropical Storm Debby.

Beau Zimmer, 10 News

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