SURFSIDE, Texas — Spring Break revelers hit the new-and-improved Surfside Beach Monday, where the General Land Office just finished work on a $4.7 million effort to restore this iconic Texas surf spot to its former glory.
Surfside Mayor Larry Davidson and Larry Laine, chief clerk at the General Land Office, cut a ribbon to rededicate the expansive new swath of sand, more than 10,000 dump trucks worth shipped by barge and truck from the Port of Bay City and then spread on the beach.
"Look at that beach, Surfside is back!" said Laine, a one-time Surfside resident. "We worked hard to get this project done before Spring Break so everyone can enjoy the best new beach in Texas."
Once an iconic Texas surf spot, Surfside Beach suffers from one of the highest erosion rates on the Texas coast. Years of erosion - sometimes as much as 16 feet of beach a year - had thinned the beach to a sandy ribbon. Hurricane Ike destroyed what was left, leaving the Gulf's waves lapping at Beach Drive and threatening to claim more than $53 million worth of streets, sewers and other public infrastructure.
After Ike, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson made the preservation and restoration of Surfside Beach a priority. The resulting project to renourish the beach and rebuild and enhance a protective stone revetment to withstand a 25-year storm event combined local, state and federal money. More than 167,500 tons of sand later, Surfside Beach is once again in business.
The new beach is about a mile long and more than 100 feet wide. It stretches from Jettyview Road to Whelk Street.
Laine said the state's investment of $480,000 through the Coastal Erosion Planning and Response Act helped leverage more than $4.2 million in other funding to make the project possible.
"I think members of the Legislature can feel good about their investment in this project," Laine said. "Surfside Beach is a great example of how a big beach project, where it makes economic sense, can save millions of dollars worth of public infrastructure. Surfside is worth saving."