Posted on December 18, 2023
By MADDY VITALE
Ocean City’s south end beaches are much wider and more attractive now thanks to a multimillion-dollar project.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began pumping operations to deliver 257,000 cubic yards of new sand to eroded beaches between 45th Street and 59th Street.
By Friday, the work was nearly finished, officials said.
“The Army Corps of Engineers expects to complete sand-pumping operations for the south end beach replenishment project today,” Mayor Jay Gillian said in a statement Friday.
The south end project is part of a $33.7 million beach replenishment project supervised by the Army Corps of Engineers. It includes Strathmere and Sea Isle City beaches as well. Strathmere beaches will be replenished next. The project is expected to be complete after pumping sand onto Sea Isle beaches by the next spring, officials said.
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. is the contractor hired by the Army Corps of Engineers to perform the beachfill work. The company used a large dredge to pump sand taken from the ocean floor onto the beaches.
“The dredge will be towed to safe harbor ahead of Sunday’s storm and return sometime next week to begin work in Strathmere,” Gillian explained. “Demobilization of equipment on the beach in Ocean City will take place throughout the next week.”
Coastal storms batter the beaches in Ocean City and the other barrier islands each year. The replenishment project widens the beaches to create a larger barrier of sand to protect homes, businesses and other property from harsh weather.
Not only does the increased sand provide a protective barrier for Ocean City, Strathmere and Sea Isle beaches, but it also enhances the appearance of the beaches, making them more inviting to residents and visitors to the shore towns.
In addition to restoring the beaches with fresh sand, the project will also improve the dune crossovers and access paths. New fencing and other features will be installed or repaired as another facet of the work.
“Work is designed to maintain the dune and berm system in the communities and reduce the risk of storm damages to coastal infrastructure,” the Army Corps said in a news release earlier this month.
Altogether, more than 1.3 million cubic yards of new sand will be pumped onto the Ocean City, Strathmere and Sea Isle beaches to replace what was lost in storms.
The Strathmere beaches will be replenished with 456,000 cubic yards of sand from Corson’s Inlet to about Jasper Road.
Sea Isle will receive 252,000 cubic yards of sand from 29th Street to 53rd Street and another 388,000 cubic yards will restore the beaches from 73rd Street to Townsends Inlet.
Massive pipes are used for the beach replenishment project in Ocean City.