• December 13, 2019

Replenishment project coming early to Upper - Ocean City Sentinel: News

Replenishment project coming early to Upper

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Posted: Wednesday, November 13, 2019 3:31 pm

STRATHMERE — Sand pumping could begin rebuilding beaches and dunes in Strathmere by the weekend, ahead of schedule. 

According to Upper Township engineer Paul Dietrich, equipment and the pipes for the sand pumping was set to be put in place this week, with sand pumping likely to start by the weekend. The work can begin because a similar project in Avalon has been completed early. 

“It should take 20 days to complete the base work but could go longer based on the actual amount of sand needed and weather,” Dietrich wrote in an email about the project. 

After Strathmere’s portion of the project is complete, the work will move to the south end of Ocean City. Ocean City representatives attended a pre-construction meeting with officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental Protection to discuss the project Tuesday, Nov. 12, according to Ocean City spokesman Doug Bergen. 

He said the timing for Ocean City is close to what was originally expected, with sand added to south end beaches in January and February and the project to continue in the north end in the spring, with mobilization expected in April for a May 1 start of the work. 

In October, the Army Corps announced a $32.5 million contract with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. of Oak Brook, Ill., calling for the addition of 2.4 million cubic yards of sand along miles of beaches. 

The project area includes Ocean City, Strathmere, Whale Beach and Sea Isle City. 

The contract calls for 800,000 cubic yards of sand to be added to Ocean City beaches from Seaview Road to 13th Street, and 455,000 cubic yards of sand added between 49th Street and 59th Street. Strathmere is set to see 410,000 cubic yards added from Corsons Inlet to Prescott Road, with an additional 250,000 cubic yards added to the Whale Beach section down to 52nd Street in Sea Isle City. From 68th Street to Townsend Inlet, plans call for 510,000 cubic yards of sand. 

According to Dietrich, the project cannot take sand from within 500 feet of the beach. The sand will be taken from the shoals of Corsons Inlet and added to the Strathmere beach. 

Most say the area in the north end of Strathmere has the greatest need for replenishment, with erosion creating steep cliffs in the dunes. 

According to Bergen, the Ocean City project will take sand from the same place as the Strathmere work — what’s often described as the borrow area. The dredge pipe will run underwater, past Corsons Inlet State Park to come ashore close to 59th Street. 

The dredge “Illinois,” the same one that completed the recent Avalon project and will build Strathmere beaches, is set to be in for repair after the first phase of the Ocean City work, then return to complete the north end. At the same time, a different, smaller dredge will undertake the Sea Isle City project. 

This will be the 10th beach project in Ocean City’s north end since the Army Corps entered a 50-year commitment to maintain the city’s beaches in the early 1990s. In this project, the contractor will stockpile extra sand for Ocean City to use as dunes around Fifth Street, the area most consistently hit by erosion. 

City officials have considered placing sand-filled bags at that location. Known as Geotubes, they could serve as an addition bulwark against storm damage. But that project still awaits the needed state approvals. 

It will also wait until after the beach project is completed, Bergen said, because they will offer much greater protection if the Geotubes are added to a newly reconstructed beach. 

As with previous projects, the latest replenishment to downtown beaches will start in the north end in the Gardens section of town and move south, Bergen said. 

Under a cost-sharing formula, the federal government and the state fund the work, with New Jersey looking to local municipalities to kick in toward the state share, putting the local share of the cost at 12.5% of the total project.

Ocean City has included $2 million for beach replenishment in its capital plan. Upper Township officials expect to spend between $800,000 and $1 million on the local share of the work.

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