A swath of Miami Beach was washing away. The fix? Dump 285,000 tons of sand on it

In order to widen a 3,000-foot stretch of Miami Beach’s shore that was washing away, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dumped 285,412 tons of sand on Mid-Beach.

The $11.5 million project, funded with a combination of federal, state and county dollars, expanded the shore at 46th and 54th streets by about 230 feet.

The widening is crucial to protect the island from storm surge in the event of a hurricane. And it provides more space for beachgoers to sunbathe.

“The renourished beach will help protect infrastructure from both seasonal storms and hurricanes,” said Elizabeth Wheaton, director of environment and sustainability for Miami Beach until she became Mayor Philip Levine’s chief of staff last month. “The city relies on its beaches to protect infrastructure, preserve wildlife, support the economy, and build coastal resiliency.”

12,961 truckloads of sand were used to widen the beach.

The federal government covered half the cost of the project. The state and county split the rest.

Work began in August when Lake Worth-based contractors Eastman Aggregate Enterprises began trucking in tons of sand from Vulcan Materials Witherspoon Sand Mine in Moore Haven, southwest of Lake Okeechobee.

The eroded section at 46th Street, which received the majority of the sand, was completed by Nov. 9. The swath at 54th Street was finished in late February. The whole project wrapped Friday.

Next up: Sunny Isles Beach. The federal government expects to award a contract for this job at the end of July. Construction will likely begin in September and last four to six months.