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Sand removal on Palmetto Boulevard could cost $750K, Edisto mayor says

Sand removal on Palmetto Boulevard could cost $750K, Edisto mayor says (1).jpg

Sand still covers the main drag on Edisto Beach. Five feet of sand buried Palmetto Boulevard during Hurricane Matthew -- but there is an end in sight.

A majority of Palmetto Boulevard is still closed and barricaded. By Tuesday, crews had removed enough sand to fill 3,500 dump trucks, but there's a lot more to go.

When that much sand covers a major road, it's quite a job to remove it. It's taken seven days, 28 people, and 25 pieces of equipment to remove sand covering roads, sidewalks, and yards.

On Tuesday, contractor Shank Collins, president of Robert Collins Construction, said they began sifting debris from the sand.

“All kinds, shingles, any kind of construction debris, boards, boards with nails, what we believe may be some asbestos shingles, anything someone might have had under their house or what could have come off a house,” Collins said.

The clean sand will then be returned to where it came from -- the beach.

“We’re reloading it into off road trucks and constructing a five-mile-long 20-foot-wide, 6-feet high emergency berm," he said.

The berm is a temporary fix. Hurricane Matthew washed away the island's dunes, but Collins hopes to have the work completed by the weekend.

“That’s our primary focus is getting this sand clean and residents back to their houses and getting the boulevard back open is priority right now. We got to do it in a timely fashion but we got to be safe about it," Collins said.

Cleaning up Palmetto Boulevard will come at a significant cost to the town. Mayor Jane Darby says the preliminary estimate is around $750,000 -- but could be more.

Once that's completed crews will then begin the beach renourishment project, which was in the works before Matthew.

It was supposed to start on Nov. 1, but the mayor says it will likely be pushed back to Jan. 1, 2017. The original bid for the renourishment project was $13 million, but Darby said it will likely go up as well, since the storm re-configured parts of the beach.

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