Sand replenishment project still on track in Solana Beach

A project that could replenish beaches in Solana Beach and Encinitas over the next 50 years is still on track.

For nearly 15 years, the neighboring coastal cities have been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to plan the project, which recently received a recommendation for approval from the assistant secretary of the Army.

“That’s a big milestone for us,” said Deputy Mayor Lesa Heebner at the Sept. 10 council meeting.

The proposed plan is to use sand from offshore borrow sites to renourish depleting North County beaches and eroding beach bluffs.

“Pretty much our beaches, naturally, are gone,” said Solana Beach City Manager David Ott in a recent interview. “Sand will provide a recreational opportunity for people because there will be beaches. It will also provide a soft solution to protecting those buffs. That’s the goal of the project.”

The tentatively recommended plan is to replace 100 feet of sand every five years in Encinitas and 200 feet of sand every 10 years in Solana Beach. Ott explained Encinitas has an initial placement volume of 480,000 cubic yards and Solana Beach has an initial placement volume of 700,000 cubic yards — a total of nearly 1.2 million cubic yards of sand.

After receiving unanimous approval from the California Coastal Commission the second time the project was presented to the state agency, final plans were submitted in March to the planning division of the Army Corps of Engineers.

The project is now headed to the civil works review board, hopefully in February, Ott said. If it receives the board’s support, the next and final step will be the chief’s report approval, which could take place in June 2015.

Following final approval, the project would enter the construction document phase. Initial sand placement could begin in 2017 at the earliest, said Ott, who estimated the project to cost about $60 million over 50 years.

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