Months from now visitors and residents will reap the benefits of wide Ocean City beaches due to a replenishment project that is pumping in more sand to fill in what was lost through coastal storms.
In the meantime, all it takes is a look at the ocean to see a dredge doing its work to bring in fresh sand. Machinery makes its way in a convoy from one beach block to another in the south end and will soon be in the north end for replenishment work there.
“Our contractor has approximately seven days of dredging remaining in southern Ocean City,” U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Public Affairs Officer Steve Rochette said. “Overall, work has progressed as expected.”
In all, a 1.5-mile section of beach from Corson’s Inlet State Park at 59th Street to 45th Street will be replenished with 555,000 cubic yards of new sand, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, the federal agency overseeing the project.
The amount of sand for the project was increased after coastal storms caused further erosion to the beaches.
On Tuesday afternoon, crews were set up at the 53rd Street beach.
Massive pipes were adjacent to mesh fencing that warned of no trespassing onto a construction site without an escort.
Work to rebuild beaches at the north end of Ocean City remains on schedule to start around May 1, with mobilization of equipment in April.
A total of 1.4 million cubic yards of new sand will help restore the north end beaches from Seaview Road to 13th Street.
Ocean City is one of three communities included in the project.
For southern Ocean City, Sea Isle City, and Strathmere, most of the work in the replenishment project involves widening the beaches in front of the dunes.
However, in some areas the Army Corps will be repairing dunes, repairing beach access points, installing a sand fence and planting dune grass.
The Great Egg Harbor Inlet to Townsends Inlet project stretches from 34th Street in Ocean City to Townsends Inlet in Sea Isle City. Work in the southern end of Ocean City, from 34th Street to Corson’s Inlet State Park, includes a federally constructed dune.
There is also the Great Egg Harbor and Peck’s Beach project, which extends from Surf Road southwest to 34th Street in Ocean City and includes an elevated berm, referred to as the beach.
A $32.5 million contract has been awarded for the replenishment project for all three towns.
However, there are options built into the contract that could push the cost up to $41.3 million if surveys of the storm-damaged beaches show that even more sand is needed.