Ocean Beach Sand Mangement Project to partly close Great Highway

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In addition to partially closing the Great Highway, the sand relocation project will temporarily close some parking areas at Ocean Beach. Photo: Tom Prete / Ocean Beach Bulletin

The southbound lanes of the Great Highway will be partly closed for most of every weekday starting Monday, Aug. 20 as part of a project that will truck tons of sand to the erosion-scarred south end of Ocean Beach.

Parking at Ocean Beach also will be affected by the Ocean Beach Sand Management Project, with lots on the north end of the beach and the lot at Sloat Boulevard seeing the greatest impact. At the parking lot opposite the Beach Chalet, about 20 parking spots on the south end of the lot, near Stairwell 28, will be used for the project. Parking south of Sloat Boulevard west of the Oceanside Water Pollution Control plant also may be affected.

The Ocean Beach Sand Management Project will move between 100,000 and 150,000 cubic yards of sand from the north end of Ocean Beach to the area south of Sloat Boulevard. That’s about enough sand to fill the beds of between 62,000 and 93,000 Ford F150 pickup trucks.

Local residents, beachgoers and anyone driving in the Ocean Beach area should “just be aware that there’s going to be a lot of truck traffic,” said Steve Ortega of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which manages Ocean Beach.

To accommodate that truck traffic, the Great Highway’s southbound lanes will be closed every weekday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. The road will be open every night and weekend, and no work is scheduled for weekends or nights.

Electronic traffic signs have been posted in several locations warning of the upcoming closure and directing drivers to use Sunset Boulevard as an alternative route, but as with any closure of the Great Highway many drivers will likely use the residential Lower Great Highway instead.

The project is scheduled to wrap up by Sept. 28.

While they will be adding many tons of sand to the beach, workers also will be taking some material away, including a set of steel poles that were installed years ago as part of a beach-monitoring project.

“We’re going to remove those monitoring poles that are out there. We’re going to remove any hazardous concrete that has rebar,” Ortega said.

The results of this sand-placement project will be watched closely to see if the sand can effectively protect the shoreline of south Ocean Beach — and the network of City wastewater infrastructure under and near the Great Highway — from the erosion caused by a rising sea level and the battering of winter storms. If it works, the City might not have to turn as frequently to measures such as dumping rocks on the beach to protect City property.

“We want to know how long the sand will stay in place,” said Ortega. He said surveying equipment would be used to observe any movement of the newly placed sand and how long it stays put.

Officials with the City and the GGNRA, as well as planners with the Ocean Beach Master Plan, have said they will be looking at the Ocean Beach Sand Management Project as a test case for a potential project that would place about two to three times as much sand in the area over a period of years. That sand might come from the San Francisco Bar, a large underwater sand bar west of the Golden Gate that is dredged every year to allow large ships to enter San Francisco Bay.

Moving 100,000 cubic yards of sand from the Kelly’s Cove area to the beach south of Sloat also solves some problems created by an abundance of sand on the north end of the beach. So much sand has accumulated there that this spring it buried the seawall and sidewalk, plus parts of parking lots and the Great Highway.

Read more about the Ocean Beach Sand Management Project:

Ocean Beach Erosion Project Brochure FINAL
Ocean Beach Sand Maintenace_signedcatex

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  1. Thank you for the update and for acknowledging that when the upper Great Hwy is closed people commuting through DO NOT use Sunset Blvd., but instead constantly and consistently use the lower Great Hwy, creating mayhem, dangerous conditions and a safety threat. This has always been the case yet SF plays deaf and dumb to the issue, pretending that their puny ‘Sunset Blvd.’ detour signs actually result in someone using the designated detour.

    It might also be worth noting that when the Coastal Commission approved this ‘temporary’ project last Friday they were adamant that the illegal rip rap and debris south of Sloat Ave. must be removed by SF, regardless of SF’s short term project to dump sand on the illegal seawall armoring from years past.

    In addition, the CCC wants SF and SPUR to present the OB Master Plan for CCC review and public hearings asap, as they are likely to object to SF’s plan to leave sewer pipes in place, and Coastal Commission members do not want SPUR and SF to go about planning with an expectation that sewer lines will ever be permitted to remain on Great Hwy section fronting the zoo and sewer facilities. CCC reasoning is that allowing them to remain might legally justify future seawall armoring, removal of which is the entire point of this longterm planning exercise!

    Lastly, Commissioners suggested that given the comprehensive and extensive nature of the OB Master Plan, and the age and stale nature of SF’s Local Coastal Plan (LCP), that the OBMP should be part of a comprehensive update of SF’s LCP. In other words, SF has lots of planning to do and it will likely take some years to complete…. SO GET GOING !!!


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