West 6th beach access improvements planned in Gulf Shores

By Guy Busby
Government Editor
guy@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 9/28/22

GULF SHORES — A new project will improve parking and access to the Gulf beach at West 6th Street following action by the Gulf Shores City Council.The council was scheduled to vote Monday, Sept. …

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West 6th beach access improvements planned in Gulf Shores

Posted

GULF SHORES — A new project will improve parking and access to the Gulf beach at West 6th Street following action by the Gulf Shores City Council.

The council was scheduled to vote Monday, Sept. 26, to approve a contract with McElhenney Construction for beach access and parking lot improvements at a cost of about $425,000.

Part of the project will include improving the boardwalk at the site to allow better access for handicapped visitors, Marc Acreman, city engineer said.

"This will include replacing the existing boardwalk, ramps and stairs, extending the wooden boardwalk past the dunes to include ADA accessibility to the beach," Acreman said at a City Council work session Monday, Sept. 19. "Right now, the boardwalk stops short of the major dune system. So, this will get it over the dune and provide ADA accessibility from the parking lot from the ADA parking stalls."

He said the project also calls for the beach shower at the boardwalk to be replaced.

Acreman said work on the boardwalk replacement cannot start until a beach renourishment project is completed.

The beach renourishment project, which will include pumping sand from the Gulf to beaches in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach, is scheduled to begin in November. The Gulf Shores phase of the renourishment project is scheduled to be completed in February before the work moves east into Orange Beach, Acreman said.

"This includes the boardwalk improvements after the beach renourishment project is completed, because we intend to go over the dune systems that we have to rebuild in this location with this new boardwalk to make sure they're ADA compliant," Acreman said. "We need to know what that final grade of that dune's going to be before we can construct it."

The boardwalk project will allow visitors in wheelchairs to cross the dunes at West 6th Street but will not include mats to carry wheelchairs across the beach itself. Acreman said the mats must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a case-by-case basis.

The first phase of the project would be parking lot improvements at a cost of $189,146.69. The second phase, which includes boardwalk repairs and improvements, will cost $227.520.78. McElhenney was the lowest approved bidder on the project.

Acreman said the parking lot improvements will be built this year. The phase of the project will include paving the parking lot and a handicapped accessible parking space as well as building a new sidewalk connection to Alabama 182.

He said $50,000 of cost will be reimbursed through an Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources grant agreement.

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