By Margie Plunkett
The South Lake Worth Inlet project just keeps pounding on and the rhythmic driving
will resound through the beginning of next year.
The pile driving at the inlet is part of a $7 million project that started last
year to rebuild the sand transfer plant and jetties, as well as rehabilitate
the seawall on Bird Island.
The sand transfer plant, which pumps drifting sand from the north side of the inlet
to the south beaches of Ocean Ridge, has already been completed, made more
efficient and quieter with a brand new electric engine. The Bird Island seawall
was expected to be completed in the last week of August with the last pouring
of seawall cap concrete. All that will be left for the island construction is
But work on the jetties is still in progress.
The overall completion date of the project stands at March 2011, the initial
projection, said Tracy Logue of Palm Beach County’s Department of Environmental
Resources Management. “We had planned, however, to keep one jetty open for
fishing while the other one was under construction, but things didn’t go as
The sheet pile driving on the south jetty was slower than expected because of rock
and the contractor wasn’t able to finish in the four-month window outside of
turtle nesting season, which runs from March through Nov. 1.
“Getting a crane on the south jetty requires moving it along the beach, and we couldn’t
put it on the beach in nesting season,” Logue said in an e-mail. “If the
contractor only has four months per year to work in an area, everything had
better go perfectly, or he has to wait for the next four-month construction
The jetties, now closed to fishing and pedestrian traffic, should be finished by
March, when contractors complete driving the concrete piles on the south jetty.
The contractors will be driving steel sheet piles on the north jetty for about two
weeks into September. On the same jetty, it’ll probably be the end of November before
the concrete piling work is done, according to Logue.
More than half of 200 concrete piles have been put in at the north jetty and a third
section of new deck had been poured as of an Aug. 12 ERM update of the project.
The fourth concrete pour was scheduled for late in August.
On the south jetty, work will resume as soon as nesting season ends, Nov. 1. The
sheet pile driving will go on at that jetty for four to six weeks and will be
followed by the concrete piles.
Beach access south of the inlet is open, and an ERM update notes that north of the
inlet, the beach is accessible by the footpath north of the contractor’s chain
The county has posted an “Entrance” sign that directs people into a beach area
behind residential properties in Manalapan since the construction, Police Chief
Clay Walker said. The Police Department has reported an “uptick” in activity in
the 2000 to 4000 blocks of South Ocean Boulevard involving trespassing,
littering and possession of alcohol and has stepped up enforcement in the area,