Plan to expand Galveston beaches in the works

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Crews are drudging the Galveston Ship Channel, and they'll soon be moving the sand to create more beach for the island. (KTRK)

Galveston's beachfront is about to get longer.

Crews are working around the clock on a project scheduled to be finished at the end of October. The project will use 725,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from the Galveston Ship Channel to create 20 blocks of additional beach along the island's seawall between 61st and 81st streets.

Families visiting the beach this weekend noticed the bulldozers moving near 61st and Seawall Boulvard. Evan Jarvis of Dallas says he hasn't been to the island in years and was spending the weekend with his 11-year-old son, Will.

"I'm here to swim, relax and have fun," Will Jarvis said.

"I hadn't been down here since high school so thought I'd bring the kiddo down and see how it's changed and we're out here enjoying the day," Evan Jarvis said.

It's changing right before their eyes. Moving the sand may seem like an enormous task, but new resident Cathy Webster described the progress she sees every day.

"What's truly amazing is you look at the big picture, like it's not going to do any good because it's so tedious, but each day I ride by here you do see results," says Webster.

It's the single largest volume of sand every placed on Galveston Beaches.

The $23 million project is a collaborative effort sponsored by the Galveston Park Board, City of Galveston and the Texas General Land Office. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Galveston District,which routinely dredges the ship channel every 18-24 months, will place the material on the beach in lieu of offshore.

"The USACEGalveston District is excited to partner with the Galveston Park Board of Trustees and Texas General Land Office in order to carry out a dredging project that will benefit channel users and Galveston residents," said Tricia Campbell, an operations manager with the USACEGalveston District. "While undertaking its mission of keeping America's waterways navigable, the Corps is able to turn that into an added benefit for the community by placing dredged material (sand) on the Galveston beach for tourists and residents to enjoy. This beneficial use project allows the Corps to work with a cost-sharing sponsor to place dredged material along the coastline."

By the next time the Jarvises visit, all the rocks there now will be covered in sand.

"It's pretty cool to have more beach," says Will Jarvis.

The additional sand will add protection from storm surges and increase property values along this stretch.

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