Beach Pumping Project Slowed

Travis Brown
Staff Writer

OCEAN CITY – Bad weather and equipment issues have delayed the beach replenishment and slightly pushed back the expected completion date.

Ocean City Engineer Terry McGean confirmed that a combination of unforeseeable factors slowed work recently.

“We’re not on schedule,” he said. “We’d first estimated finishing mid- late-November. Now we’re expecting to be done mid-December.”

Replenishing the beach can be a fragile process. Bad weather, especially high seas, can stall work for days, as happened earlier this week. Add to that the possibility for equipment failure and it becomes difficult to set a definite schedule.

It was just such a combination of equipment trouble and weather that is responsible for the new, later deadline, according to McGean.

“We had a line plug underwater,” said McGean, “and then had issues with weather.”

Work on the project only recently resumed. As of yesterday, beach from 134th to 137th streets had been replenished, with 137th through 142nd streets scheduled for work this week.

All of that is subject to change, however, if seas once again become too rough. Luckily, most other weather issues are not a problem for the project.

“High seas will stop us,” confirmed McGean. “Lightning will stop us temporarily. Usually if it’s just rain we’ll continue.”

The replenishment is a slow process. Generally, three blocks of beach per day will be selected. That area will then be closed off from beach goers. Due to the size of the beach, however, restricting access to three blocks a day does not seem to be much of an issue and means the project doesn’t need to worry about crowds interfering with work.

Replenishment moves in several phases. The first phase was simply to acquire and set up the equipment, which has been completed. The second and main phase involves pumping new sand onto the beach. This will expand it and protect it against storms and flooding. After that phase is complete dune fencing, crossovers and vegetation will all be repaired or replaced as necessary.

Now that sand pumping has begun, the town updates its website daily about the status of the project, displaying the areas currently being worked on, those planned for the week, and those stretches of beach that have already been completed. The website also reveals any delays and the reasons for them. For those interested in keeping up with the project, click to  HYPERLINK "http://www.OceanCityMD.gov" www.OceanCityMD.gov.

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