Flagler Wrapping Up Dune Project Early & Under Budget

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Palm Coast, FL - One county's in-house dune construction project is ready to finish up ahead of schedule and almost $8 million under budget.

Over a year ago, Flagler County broke ground on a new project set to help clean up and reshape areas affected by high tide by revitalizing more than 11 miles of dunes.

While their original scheduled end date isn't for another two months, they're ready to wrap up in a couple of weeks.

"We anticipate completing these details within the next two to three weeks," said Faith Alkhatib, director for Flagler's Public Works department. "Our original completion date was April 31st, one day before the start of sea turtle nesting season, so we are ahead of schedule."

The new expected completion date is expected to come sometime in mid-March.

Not only is it finishing up early, but it's also coming in well under budget. Original projections estimated that the project could cost, in total, $28.3 million. However, the actual costs so far round up to about $20 million.

According to Alkhatib, that's because Flagler decided to do the project themselves, involving local government, instead of contracting it to a third-party.

"We decided to do the project in-house because it would be more cost-effective for the public," said Alkhatib.

Flagler received help from FEMA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Three homeowners associations, the Hammock Beach Club, Ocean Hammock and Hammock Dunes, also contributed at least a third of the funding for the dunes in front of their properties.

She also said that a project like this being done in house with her two departments, Engineering and Road and Bridge, is a first in the State of Florida.

The main purpose for these dunes is to provide a buffer of "sacrificial sand" between beach properties and the ocean to protect them from high-tide and erosion.

While Flagler County completed the actual dune construction, subcontractors were hired for supporting services.

Those services include construction engineering inspection, dune planting and turtle relocation and surveying.

"This project is a testament to the capabilities and dedication of Flagler County staff to our residents," said Commission Chair Donald O'Brien. "Members of these two departments worked long days and weekends throughout the restoration to get this protective dune in place."

Plans are underway to recognize Alkhatib and her staff at a reception on April 15th before the Flagler Board of County Commissioners meeting.

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