Contractor Delays Push Fenwick Beach Replenishment To July

Contractor Delays Push Fenwick Beach Replenishment To July
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FENWICK ISLAND – Delays in a long-awaited beach replenishment project will push the start date in Fenwick Island to July.

Last year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District awarded a $19.2 million contract to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company to dredge 1.2 million cubic yards of sand that will be used to fortify the beaches and dune system in Bethany, South Bethany and Fenwick Island.

The beach replenishment projects will address the beaches and dunes that were damaged by a Nor’easter in October of 2015 and Winter Storm Joaquin in January of 2016.

This week, officials with the Army Corps of Engineers, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control and Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company met in a preconstruction meeting in Lewes to further discuss when and where the beach replenishment projects would begin and end.

Ed Voigt, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District, said preliminary work, or “mobilization,” for the projects will begin in mid-April. Beach replenishment work, however, will not begin until mid-May.

“The contractors will work from north to south,” he said, “meaning they will go from Bethany to South Bethany to Fenwick.”

Voigt said the contractor is expected to reach Fenwick Island in early July, where operations will continue for two weeks.

Despite being issued a Notice to Proceed in early November, Voigt said the contractor is expected to exceed its 240-day performance period in which work should be completed. This means the contractor will be penalized for work exceeding the 240-day timeframe.

Voigt attributes the contractor’s delay to setbacks from prior projects. He said Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company is one of few companies to offer beach replenishment and dredging work along the east coast.

“If project A is delayed, it delays project B and then project C,” he said. “It’s the cost of doing business.”

Fenwick Island Mayor Gene Langan said he is grateful for the beach replenishment project, but expressed his frustration with its timing.

“We are really happy to have it done, but we are disappointed it will be done in the middle of the summer,” he said. “We’ve had this happen before during the last beach replenishment, but we made out just fine.”

In preparation for upcoming beach replenishment work, Langan said the town is working to inform citizens, businesses, Realtors and visitors.

“We were kind of anticipating this news,” he said.

Work will also involve repairing or constructing dune crossovers and planting dune grass, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. Dune crossover work takes place within 14 days of beachfill work. Dune grass will be planted in late 2018 after the first frost.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.