Major river sand removal project set to begin soon

By Promise Yee

OCEANSIDE — A flurry of dump trucks carting sand from the San Luis Rey River is expected to begin soon. A detour has been put in place along the river bike trail and a submittal by the contractor is in the process of being finalized by the Army Corps of Engineers.

“We expect to begin work either next week or the first week in October,” Greg Fuderer, Army Corps of Engineers senior public affairs specialist for the Los Angeles District, said.

Once operations begin to remove river sediment from west of Benet Road to Foussat Road, the site will be busy with dump trucks, bull dozers, excavators and front-end loaders. The project aims to excavate 200,000 cubic yards of built-up silt from the riverbed. Work will take place 10 hours a day six days a week if needed to get the job done.

“Due to the amount of material to be removed, there will be heavy construction equipment and dump trucks running continuously for 10 hours a day, 6 days a week,” Kiel Koger, Oceanside public works division manager, said.

About half of the sand that is removed will be beach-quality and dropped on the sand-thirsty shoreline. Beaches at the Oceanside Pier and Seagaze Drive will benefit from sand replenishment efforts.

“We anticipate about 23 truckloads per hour transporting about 210 cubic yards of material to the beach daily, Monday through Friday,” Fuderer said.

Materials that are not beach compatible will go to suitable green waste facilities. Arundo cane will be hauled to a disposal site. Sand that is too silty, or an incompatible grain size, will go to El Corazon green waste facility.

Test borings done by the Army Corps of Engineers give project crews a good idea of what they will be dealing with. The process to sort and place removed sand should be fairly seamless.

“Material will be identified and separated on site and hauled to the appropriate placement or disposal site,” Fuderer said.

The sand removal project will increase the flow of the river to a safe 71,200 cubic feet per second, and move the river closer to a 100-year flood level capacity.

The sand removal project has been in the preliminary stages for several years. Work that was set to begin in 2016 was delayed in order to secure needed permits. The full bike trail remains open until work begins. Detours are in place and those are open as well.

Once dredging work starts the bike trail detours will be in effect. Fuderer said keeping bikers and joggers out of the project area is essential due to heavy equipment vehicles, which have the potential to create significant pavement damage.

“During the project, the maintenance road atop the river’s southern levee will be closed to the public from Douglas Drive to Foussat Road,” Fuderer said. “This action is necessary as a safety precaution.”

The bike trail detour follows Pala Road to Los Arbolitos Boulevard, then Fireside Street and reconnects with the trail at Foussat Road. Planned bike events will use the detour. The contractor will restore the bike trail to its original condition after the project is completed.

“The closure will affect a couple of bike events later in the year, but the detour will be accessible during the events,” Koger said.

River dredging must be completed by March 15, 2018, and the entire project wrapped up by the end of March, due to environmental safeguards that protect nesting birds.

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