SAN FRANCISCO (BCN) – San Francisco Public Works will begin its annual sand maintenance activities at Ocean Beach starting Tuesday, the department announced on Monday.

City crews will redistribute approximately 43,000 cubic yards of sand over the next three weeks, according to Rachel Gordon from the public works department. The goal is to reduce the likelihood of sand buildup on the Great Highway during windy weather.

During the project, southbound traffic lanes on the Great Highway between Sloat Boulevard and Lincoln Way will remain closed to vehicles. People who walk and bike are encouraged to shift their activities to the northbound lanes Monday through Friday, from 1 a.m. to 4 p.m., Gordon said.

The height and width of sand dunes at Ocean Beach will be reduced via front-end loaders, backhoes and other heavy machinery, moving the sand away from the roadway and towards the ocean.

Sand will be removed at the seawall between Noriega and Santiago Streets. The excessive sand accumulation on Judah Street and other hard-hit areas will also be addressed.

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The city says that, though sand accumulation has always been an issue along the Great Highway, climate change, drought and high winds have exacerbated the issue in recent years.

Gordon also said that crews are tackling this job now in order to avoid disturbing the Western Snowy Plover, a protected shorebird. Plovers are found at Ocean Beach ten months out of the year but generally take off in the spring and early summer to nest in other coastal areas. Monitors with the Golden Gate National Recreation Area have confirmed that the plovers have left Ocean Beach and that it is safe to begin relocating the sand, Gordon said.

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