OCEAN CITY — Some early staging of equipment is underway for the latest round of beach replenishment, but weather-related delays have pushed the actual start date back a week.
The next phase of beach replenishment in Ocean City, which will pump roughly 883,000 cubic yards of sand onto the resort’s beach from offshore sources, was tentatively scheduled to get started this week. However, City Engineer Terry McGean said on Tuesday the arrival of the equipment that will dredge the sand from offshore reserves and pump it onto the beach had been delayed until early next week, likely Monday or Tuesday, so the real work will not get started until then.
Nonetheless, crews this week began mobilizing some of the heavy equipment onshore to facilitate the project. By Tuesday afternoon, bulldozers and other equipment had been staged on the beach at 139th Street in advance of the larger project.
The private contractor will work from north to south starting at the Delaware line. The project is expected to take about 40 to 60 days to complete, depending on a variety of factors including the weather.
The Ocean City beaches are routinely replenished every four years with periodic emergency projects as needed following storms and other natural events. The resort’s beaches have took somewhat of a pounding over the last month or so from the remnants of Hurricanes Harvey, Jose and Maria, but no major damage has been reported and the beach is fairly wide in most areas.
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 last beach replenishment project in Ocean City occurred in 2014 following Hurricane Sandy, which would have made the next phase in the typical four-year cycle set for 2018.
However, after the beaches took a beating during Winter Storm Jonas in January 2016, it was determined by the Army Corps of Engineers the next phase would need to be expedited to bring the beaches and dune system back to pre-storm conditions. The project was initially slated for this spring, but when it appeared the timetable and certain deadlines could move the project past Memorial Day and into early June, it was decided to back-burner it until this fall.