PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The beach renourishment project at St. Andrew’s State Park is close to completion. 

The Panama City Beach Tourist Development Council has been working with the state park and the U.S. Army Engineer Corps to replenish the beach. Much of the sand on the beach was eroded by wind and rain, causing cliff-like sand structures to form on the Gulf of Mexico’s front.

“The beach will be wider than they have ever seen in their lifetime,” said Visit Panama City Beach President & CEO Dan Rowe. “I mean, it really is going to be just like the rest of Panama City Beach.”

Work crews used hopper dredges that act like vacuums and suck sand from the bottom of the gulf and pump it onto the beach. Then they use front-end loaders and bulldozers to move the sand around and widen the beach. Officials initially thought the project wouldn’t be completed until the end of the year, but they expect it to wrap up sometime in November. 

“The beach renourishment process is a major part of what the TDC does. It’s the third penny of the Tourist Development Tax that goes into this project.”

The TDC is also planning on planting sea oats on sand dunes in the near future to further prevent wind-borne erosion. Officials are still in the design phase of the project, but the vegetation will be planted along a mile-long stretch of the beach. 

“We’re thrilled that we’re able to do this and really help preserve the beach and, you know, to really hold down erosion.”

The beach renourishment project costs $20 million. The dune vegetation project cost is to be determined.