OCEAN CITY – This time last year Ocean City faced the worst storm in over a decade, as the dune system in many areas was destroyed but credited with saving millions of dollars of damage.
Last year’s storm hit on Nov. 13, 2009.
“We lost all the east side sand fence, about a third of the dune and 300,000 cubic yards or so of sand,” City Engineer Terry McGean said.
Without a commitment to keep the beaches and dunes up to date, the storm could have caused more severe damages.
“Based on wave height and tide levels, we estimate that we would have sustained over $18 million in property damage from the storm if we had not had the project [beach replenishment],” McGean said.
This year’s beach replenishment project is repairing the damage caused from last winter’s harsh weather and preparing for upcoming years.
According to the town’s website, the beach areas completed to date is from 134th Street to the Delaware State line and 128th Street through 95th Street.
“We have had some weather delays, but overall the project is progressing nicely,” McGean said.
McGean estimates the beach replenishment project will be completed by the end of December, depending on weather conditions.
Last year’s storms may raise concern over the progress of the project, but the means behind the plan is to relieve storm anxiety.
“Since the whole purpose of the beach project is storm protection, I am always the least worried about storms right after the project,” McGean said. “That is when we have the most protection. I would much rather lose some fence and sand instead of lives or property.”
According to McGean, to date the project is estimated to have prevented over $256 million in damages for a total cost of just over $100 million.
“The project does just what it is intended to do,” McGean said. “It has been very successful.”