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Construction on Miami Beach has been the talk to some of their residents. They are concerned that a section of the beachwalk being built on the sand dunes between Third and Fifth streets could affect their ability to shield seaside buildings from storms and keep sand from washing away. Others, however, find it exciting to be able to run or cycle all the way from South Pointe to 87th Terrace once the path is completed.

Stephen Leatherman, a coastal environmental scientist, also known as Dr. Beach said that cities typically build raised boardwalks above the dunes to allow plants to grow underneath. “It’s not something I would recommend and I’m pretty surprised the Florida Department of Environmental Protection would permit this,” he said. “This is not the way we ought to treat our sand dunes, which are so vital and our barrier to hurricane storm surge.”

Miami Beach’s permit insisted that the city had to remove invasive plants and restore any native plants affected by the construction. In an effort to minimize the impact on sea turtles, who can be disoriented by artificial lights, the pathway includes turtle-friendly lighting.

Miami Beach decided not to build a raised boardwalk in this area because the state prefers paver block pathways, which break apart more easily during a storm and are less likely to create dangerous projectiles. State regulators denied a previous request to build a raised boardwalk in another section of Miami Beach.

The section between Third and Fifth streets will likely be completed by the end of January, and the entire beachwalk system could be completed by the fall of 2020.

Read the full article on Miami Herald.