State Rep. Byrd requests $2M for 'coastal hardening' project in Jax Beach

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A project intended to protect over four miles of oceanfront property from flooding in Jacksonville Beach may get a breath of life if the funding requested in a bill filed this week is approved by state legislators.

Jacksonville Beach State Rep. Cord Byrd, filed legislation Thursday requesting a nonrecurring sum of $2 million from the state's General Revenue Fund to be appropriated to the Department of Environmental Protection for use in funding a "coastal hardening" project in 2018.

"I represent Florida's First Coast and like so many other coastal communities we felt the impact of hurricanes on our coast two years in a row," Byrd said in a statement provided to First Coast News.

The project, as described in Appropriations Project Request 75, would effectively raise the height of up to 49 dune walkovers in Jacksonville Beach, as well as extend the length of preexisting stormwater outfalls, or discharges, by 10 feet towards the ocean from the current dune line.

Extending the stormwater outfalls would reduce sand buildup in stormwater piping systems, according to the project request, as well as "provide better transportation due to reduced street flooding."

The new height of the walkovers would be greater than the current height of the sand dunes.

"As the dunes have grown, the existing dune walkovers and stormwater outfalls cause breaks in the dune system that permit flooding from the ocean through Jacksonville Beach during extreme weather events like northeasters and hurricanes," the project states.

According to the project request, condition assessments on dune walkovers and stormwater outfalls were performed by civil engineers in December 2016 and January 2017. First Coast News has yet to receive those requested documents from the City of Jacksonville Beach.

If approved during the upcoming legislative session, the City of Jacksonville Beach would receive the $2 million requested for the project outlay by July 2018. The project is expected to be completed within one year, although there is no timetable for the project as the funding is still uncertain, according to the City Manager's Office.

"The appropriations request I filed will help with coastal hardening and shore protection," Byrd said. "Doing this in turn will promote public safety by reducing flooding and also support jobs and the local economy by preserving our natural resources and those who enjoy them."

The 2018 legislative session will begin the week of Jan. 8. 

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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