Pensacola Beach, FL, Beach Restoration Project


Location: Pensacola Beach, Santa Rosa Island Escambia County, FL

Client: Santa Rosa Island Authority

Tasks: Engineer of Record for beach restoration project, feasibility study for beach restoration alternatives, permitting, local sponsor technical representative, assist with State grant cost-sharing, coastal engineering design, construction contract management and observation, post-construction monitoring.


As coastal engineering consultants to the SRIA, Olsen Associates, Inc., performed design, permitting, bidding, contract management, and construction observation/reporting services for the 2002-2003 restoration of 8.1 miles of the Gulf of Mexico shoreline at Pensacola Beach in Escambia County, FL.  The project was jointly funded and co-sponsored by the Santa Rosa Island Authority (SRIA) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Bureau of Beaches and Coastal Systems.  The project consists of full scale beach and dune nourishment (totaling 4.25 million cubic yards of sand) sand fencing, dune vegetation planting and dune restoration.  Initial restoration costs totaled $15.6M.

The initial restoration design derived from a detailed feasibility study conducted by OAI under a grant from FDEP.  The study included historical and recent (storm-induced) shoreline and beach volume change analyses, as well as numerical modeling of wave transformation and alongshore transport (STWAVE), and cross-shore beach profile response to storms -- including major hurricanes (SBEACH).  These analyses identified the cause of several chronic erosional hot spots and guided the conceptual design of the recommended alternative.  OAI likewise managed all the requisite surveys, including the establishment of an Erosion Control Line, and acquired the necessary State of Florida FDEP Joint Coastal Permit and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Department of the Army permit.  OAI assisted the local sponsor in acquiring over $8M in State grant money for the initial restoration.

Following the devastating impacts of Hurricane Ivan in September 2004, the project was renourished in 2005-2006 with financial assistance from FEMA and the State of FL.  OAI managed all the necessary post-storm assessment and design surveys, renewed all permits, and designed, bid, and oversaw construction of the renourishment project for the SRIA and Escambia County, FL.  The renourishment project included the placement of almost 3.5 million cubic yards of sand, including additional sand required by the impacts of Tropical Storm Arlene and Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, and Rita.  Dredging and revegetation construction costs for the project, including all post-hurricane restoration, totaled $14.9M.  Construction of the post-Ivan renourishment project was featured on The History Channel’s “Perils in Paradise” episode of the “MegaMovers” television series in 2006.

Sand for both projects was excavated from a borrow site located almost four miles offshore.  The site was initially developed in 2001 by OAI via a large-scale regional sand search that included seismic sub-bottom profiling, surface sediment sampling, and extensive sediment Vibracore collection.  The initial borrow site was subsequently expanded for the renourishment project.  Both projects were constructed were constructed via trailing-suction hopper dredge.

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