OCEAN CITY — Preliminary work on the network of dunes in Ocean City began late last week in advance of the larger beach replenishment project slated to begin in earnest later this month.
The federal Army Corps of Engineers last Friday began the process of repairing and restoring the vast network of protective dunes from one end of Ocean City to the other in advance of the major beach replenishment sand-pumping project tentatively set to begin on February 25. The dune repair work began at the north end of town last Friday and is expected to continue south along the beach to the end of the dune system at the north end of the Boardwalk.
By mid-week, Army Corps of Engineers crews had progressed to the area roughly between 119th Street and 94th Street. During dune repairs, certain sections of the beach may be closed for up to five days. Construction operations and heavy equipment will be run from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week, until the dune repair and restoration project is completed.
The dune restoration and repair project is being completed in advance of the larger beach replenishment operation set to begin later this month. Sand pumping is expected to begin on Feb. 25 and be completed by March 1. The project will start at the north end of the resort and continue in a southerly direction until it is completed.
During the sand pumping operation, sections of the beach under repair will be closed for up to three days. Unlike the dune repair aspect of the project, during sand pumping and construction operations, the equipment will be run around the clock. After the sand pumping is completed and the beach is fully restored, dune fencing, dune crossovers and dune vegetation will be replaced or repaired, completely restoring the resort’s beaches in advance of the spring and summer seasons.
The project is being conducted as part of the regular four-year cycle. The Ocean City beaches are routinely replenished every four years with periodic emergency projects as needed following storms and other natural events. Beach replenishment began in Ocean City in 1994 through a 50-year agreement with the town, Worcester County and the state of Maryland partnering with the federal Army Corps of Engineers, which provides over 50 percent of the funding for the massive undertaking.
The beach replenishment program is critical to the protection of Ocean City and its valuable resources from flooding from tropical storms, hurricanes and nor’easters. To date, the project is credited for preventing an estimated $600 million in storm-related damages.