Hurricane Ivan ravaged beaches all along the Panhandle last October and a recent wave of tropical storms, including Hurricane Dennis, slowed down Panama City Beach’s recovery process.
The project is finally getting back up to speed. Weather permitting, it should remain right on schedule. The downside is visitors aren't getting the beautiful beach they came to see.
Among the sea of sunbathers and beach umbrellas on Panama City Beach, there's currently a hydraulic dredge constantly pumping out a mixture of water and sand.
"When all goes well and there are no mechanical problems and no weather delays, they can complete between 500 and 1,000 feet of beach a day."
The beach renourishment project is going full speed these days after a work stoppage due to Hurricane Dennis. Sand is currently being pumped onto the beach along the 7,000 block of Thomas Drive.
Beachgoer Mike Wells says he didn't expect to see a construction site on his vacation.
"It's not quite what we had planned on, you know, when we came down here as far as seeing bulldozers, and actually, they're working until three or four o'clock in the morning and you do hear them all night and everything backing up and everything."
The beach renourishment project has made a major portion of the shoreline murky. Until the sand settles, visitors like Steve Most won't see the emerald waters they expected.
Steve says, "Right now it feels like I'm swimming in the Ohio River, a salty river, ‘cause were used to the clear water.”
The current project will build the beach back up to pre-Hurricane Ivan status, or about seven feet. There still is no talk of recovering the three to four feet of erosion left by Hurricane Dennis.
Project officials estimate the beach restoration will be complete by the end of October, barring any mechanical problems or weather delays.