OC Beach Replenishment Project Pushed To Early ‘14

OCEAN CITY — It now appears an emergency beach replenishment project for the Ocean City beaches originally believed to be set for this fall will now take place in early 2014 with a completion date in April.
During Hurricane Sandy last October, the Ocean City beaches took a hit with severe erosion and the destruction of much of the face of the extensive protective dune system. Much of the erosion has been corrected by natural processes over the course of last spring and throughout the summer, but evidence of the storm still exists in many places, particularly in the traditional narrow portions of the barrier island.
Almost immediately after the storm, the Army Corps of Engineers assessed the damage and began to make determinations on what action would be needed to restore the damaged beaches. Nearly a year later, a plan is falling into place to begin an expansive beach replenishment project in Ocean City, including emergency repairs needed after the storm combined with the typical four-year project.
In August, the Corps released bid notices and the project was awarded to Weeks Marine, which has done extensive work in Ocean City in the past. The original belief was that the project would begin after Labor Day, but it now appears to be on a January start time.
Ocean City Engineer Terry McGean reported the current plan calls for the dredging work to begin in January with a completion target date sometime in mid-April. McGean said it was not a surprise the project will not begin until after the first of the year given the extensive amount of replenishment work going on up and down the mid-Atlantic coast.
Following Super Storm Sandy, extensive erosion occurred all along the mid-Atlantic coast with the most serious damage concentrated in areas north of Ocean City including the beaches of New Jersey and New York. Late this summer, an extensive beach replenishment project on Delaware beaches began in neighboring Fenwick and is now pushing north. McGean said the extensive amount of emergency repairs needed in areas to the north likely pushed back the Ocean City project, which is largely considered maintenance at this point after nearly a year of natural corrections.
“Based on the contractor’s dredge schedules, his equipment won’t be available until the end of the year,” he said. “He figures the dredge portion of the project will take 35 days. Given the large number of beach replenishment jobs going on this year due to Sandy, this was not unexpected.”
McGean said this week the actual start date for the project is unknown and the starting point and direction the project will take depends on a variety of factors. The key element of the project consists of using an offshore, ocean-going hopper to hydraulically dredge one million cubic yards of sand and pump it onto the Ocean City shoreline in response to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy and for periodic shoreline maintenance. The sand is expected to be pumped from a designated borrow area roughly two to three miles off the coast of the resort and will be used to help replace the beach and the dune system.
The project will also include the reconstruction or repair of the vast dune system that stretches from the northern end of the Boardwalk to the Delaware line.
Also included in the future contract is providing and planting of dune grass and providing and installing rope fencing. The intent is to combine the emergency replenishment needed to repair the damages from Sandy with the normal four-year cycle for routine maintenance.