Crews restoring dunes at Bathtub Beach following Eta

Crews restoring dunes at Bathtub Beach following Eta

Crews were up early Monday morning working to reinforce the dunes of Bathtub Reef Beach after days of high winds and pounding surf from Tropical Storm Eta.

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Martin County officials said the beach will be closed while crews transport and place sand. Each truckload costs $500 to $600.

"We continue to experience high tides along with strong surf and winds and need to provide additional support to the dunes to ensure protection for infrastructure, including MacArthur Boulevard," said Martin County coastal engineer Kathy Fitzpatrick said.

MacArthur Boulevard, located to the east of the beach, is the only way in and out for hundreds of people who live and work in the area.

"The one thing that protects the road, MacArthur Boulevard, from the ocean is the dune, and we've lost a large part of that," Fitzpatrick. "We've probably had about 40 truckloads of sand, and trucks haul about 20 cubic yards in each one."

The county said the dune held during the storm, but crews are still moving sand to reinforce it and provide additional support.

The county is currently paying for the emergency work, but they hope to receive grant money to help with the costs.

The beach, pavilion and parking areas of Bathtub Beach remain closed and will not be guarded or open until conditions improve.

"What we're doing today is just trying to shore up the dunes so that we don't have a breach, and we don’t have ocean water going across the road and making it unsafe and impassable," Fitzpatrick said.

Annie MacMillan brought her niece, visiting from Nashville, to the beach to wave goodbye to Tropical Storm Eta.

"That's what we Florida people do when the storm kicks up. You want to see what the ocean is doing," MacMillan said.

"It is a little frightening, exciting. I'm a little bit of an adrenaline junkie, so if Aunt Anne felt comfortable, so I asked her would she take me to the beach. She said, 'sure,'" said visitor Patricia Lefler.

MacMillan, who now brings her grandchildren to swim here, knows that every storm has a cost.

"I'm also a taxpayer, and I also know Mother Nature will take this away no matter what we do here. As far as I'm concerned, we might as well take our money and throw it to the wind. It's kind of a Catch-22," MacMillan said.

Officials said Bathtub Beach continues to experience high tides, strong winds and heavy surf conditions, causing a significant change in the shoreline. They said moving sand is crucial to protecting nearby roads and other structures.

A beach renourishment project is scheduled for March.

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