When Miami Beach resident Nancy Hensel looks outside the window of her 19th-floor condo in the 2600 block of Collins Avenue, she sees workers driving bulldozers across the beach day and night.
They are moving piles of wet sand that has been pumped through a pipe extending from 13th to 26th streets. The results so far: a wider beach between the city's boardwalk and the lapping water of the Atlantic Ocean.
Over the summer, Hensel said, erosion had so depleted the sand that there was little room to spread a towel. Since Nov. 1, Miami-Dade workers have been delivering a sand bonanza to the most eroded spots, between 26th and 29th streets, and they are filling the eroded shoreline with new sand from South Beach.
The work is expected to be finished by Jan. 15, said Luis Espinosa, spokesman for Miami-Dade's Department of Environmental Resources Management, known as DERM. And last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave Miami-Dade permission to import foreign sand for long-term beach renourishment after more than a decade of negotiations and study.
With the federal renourishment project still in its early stages, locals like Hensel are concentrating on the work in their backyard. ''We're very happy the county is restoring the beach,'' she said. ``We pay high taxes for our location and our views. It's not right that we haven't had a beach to walk on.''
Espinosa said the county is pumping in 70,000 cubic yards to the area between 26th and 29th streets at a cost of $2 million.
Vanessa Arellano Doctor