(Photo courtesy of SPUR)

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission announced it will begin moving around sand from the north end of the city’s Ocean Beach to the south end in order to address erosion.

The Ocean Beach Improvement Plan, which launched in November, entails crews excavating a large amount of sand — about 97,500 tons — from the O’Shaughnessy Seawall at Ocean Beach’s northern end and moving it the southern end, just south of Sloat Boulevard.

According to the SFPUC, Ocean Beach’s north side has been accumulating sand and widening in recent years, while the area south of Sloat has been seeing a loss of sand and erosion.

Too much sand on the beach impedes beach access for visitors and increases maintenance and costs for the city and the National Park Service, SFPUC officials said.

Moving the excess sand to the beach’s southern end can also help protect the Lake Merced Transport Tunnel, which transports wastewater flows from the west side to the Oceanside Wastewater Treatment Plant.

In addition to the new sand, crews will also place 28 new sandbags to existing sandbag structures along the beach to prevent further erosion. The SFPUC has already successfully completed similar projects before back in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

“Protecting and maintaining our natural resource is a critical component of our mission,” SFPUC General Manger Harlan Kelly said in a statement. “This project will help restore eroded areas on Ocean Beach while allowing the SFPUC to continue with the critical functions of our wasterwater treatment system.”

SFPUC expects to finish the project by January.

During the project, drivers can expect detours on the Great Highway’s southbound lanes to Sunset Boulevard between Lincoln Way and Sloat Boulevard. At least one lane may be closed on the Great Highway’s northbound lanes between Sloat Boulevard and state Highway 35, SFPUC officials said.