ENCINITAS, Calif. — Beaches in Encinitas and Solana Beach will soon get wider.

U.S. Representative Mike Levin announced he secured $30.5 million in federal funding for a sand replenishment project. The goal is to create wide sandy beaches so there is more room to play and use recreationally, and also help the bluffs by creating a buffer to protect against coastal erosion.

The sand replenishment project is part of the coastal storm reduction damage project that has been in the making for 20 years, according to local elected officials.

“Looking at our beaches and our shoreline today, you do have to wonder, so this project is in the nick of time,” Encinitas Mayor Tony Kranz said.

The $30.5 million will be used to replenish sand along 7,800 feet of shoreline in Encinitas, then another 7,200 feet in Solana Beach.

“Which is so important to our recreation, to our beautiful beaches, to the public safety to preserving the infrastructure that is important to all of our daily lives. And really improving the quality of life to everybody that comes to visit our beaches,” said Lesa Heebner, City of Solana Beach Mayor.

Both city mayors said having more sand on the beach, will improve their economies by creating a buffer to protect against bluff erosion and future coastal storm damage.

Adding more sand to create wider beaches, also protects Highway 1, the rail corridor, plus gas and utility lines.

“Today’s agreement signing is only the first step in a multi-year, really multi-decade process,” U.S. Representative Mike Levin said.

The project includes funding for upkeep. Every ten years for the next 50 years, Encinitas and Solana Beach will receive more sand to replenish. Heebner said it will help Solana Beach continue to monitor the shoreline for improvements.

“It’s going to make sure everything is going as has been planned for. This project allows for some tweaks from time to time if we see things that are impacting perhaps the grass or some of the sea life. So we can alter that,” Heebner said.

The Army Corps of Engineers will complete the project. The colonel said they will start placing sand in the fall.