USA: Delaware Beaches Replenishment Project Moves Ahead

Until November 2009, Bethany Beach looked pretty much like it does today — a wide expanse that drops off at the ocean. Then, two storms hit within days and waves and erosion cut away at a protective sand dune, leaving a 15-foot drop-off to the narrow beach that remains.

Over the last several weeks, thousands of cubic yards of sand have been pumped in as part of a federal-state project to restore the beach to pre-storm conditions. That work was completed last week.

Next stop: South Bethany.

But the start date for that phase of the project is uncertain. There’s a possibility the work won’t be done before Memorial Day — the start of beach season.

The contractor for the $22.7 million repair project that will also include Fenwick Island, Dewey Beach and Rehoboth Beach restorations has moved its dredge out of the area.

Anthony P. Pratt, the state shoreline and waterway administrator, said state officials aren’t sure when the dredge will resume work in Delaware.

Earlier this year, federal officials announced that the sand pumping and repair work at all five Delaware ocean communities would be complete by Memorial Day weekend. Pratt is worried that timeline will be impossible to keep.

Under its contract with the Army Corps of Engineers, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock has until August to finish the job.

But the state asked that the contractor “do no work between Memorial Day and Labor Day,” Pratt said. “We didn’t want to have that happen.”

Pratt said it’s to the company’s advantage not to work in the summer because the costs — to house workers, navigate summer traffic and hire additional personnel to keep tourists out of the work site — go up.



Source: delmarvanow, February 22, 2011

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