By MADDY VITALE, OCNJDaily
While Ocean City is already acclaimed for its award-winning beaches, it will soon be getting hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of fresh sand to make its shoreline even more inviting to residents and visitors.
The project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers includes pumping in the sand, repairing dunes and adding dune grass and fencing in Ocean City as well as replenishing the beaches in Sea Isle City and Strathmere.
Bids for the project, which is all under one contract, were originally to be opened Sept. 17 but were delayed on a technicality.
The bids were held Monday.
“At this point, we will review the bids,” said Steve Rochette, public affairs officer for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District.
The amount of the bids will not be released as of yet.
“We’re still in the process of reviewing the bid information,” Rochette added.
He said the contract will likely be awarded by Sept. 30. It would entail depositing 800,000 cubic yards of sand in north Ocean City from Seaview Road to 13th Street and 455,000 cubic yards of sand in south Ocean City from 49th to 59th Streets.
Ocean City Business Administrator George Savastano said the beaches needing the most replenishment extend from the north end of town to around 13th Street and the south end from 48th Street to 59th Street.
The Army Corps is aware of the problem areas, Rochette said.
“These projects are designed to reduce the risk of storm damage. We conduct periodic nourishment to maintain the beaches.”
The major plan has one main focus in mind.
“The project is designed to absorb the energy of waves in a storm event,” Rochette said.
Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen said the replenishment plan is expected to take place sometime between this fall and spring of 2020.
“Ocean City will not know a definitive time frame until the contract is awarded,” he pointed out.
Bergen noted that the replenishment areas are subject to change depending on the condition of the beach when construction commences.
For southern Ocean City, Sea Isle and Strathmere most of the work in the replenishment project involves widening the beach 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.
“There are also contract options to place additional sand and these options could be exercised depending on surveys and the condition of the beaches,” Rochette said. “Once we award the contract, currently estimated for Sept. 30, we would begin to coordinate with the contractor on the schedule and sequence of work.”
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, Rochette explained.
There is also the Great Egg Harbor and Peck Beach project, which extends from Surf Road southwest to 34th Street in Ocean City and includes an elevated berm, which Rochette said most people would just refer to as “the beach.”
Surfer Cliff Cole, who grew up in New Jersey and now lives in Nebraska, spends some of his summers each year enjoying Ocean City’s surf.
Cole, a meteorologist, looked at the steep cliff-like structures that were once dunes at the 7th Street beach and said he is hopeful next summer he will see plenty more sand on his favorite beach.
“I’ve been visiting Ocean City for over 20 years or so. I grew up here. The biggest waves are at this beach,” Cole said.
He noticed something else, besides the good waves, this summer.
“It’s worse this year. It looks like there is more run-up now,” he said of the erosion while standing next to dunes that had chunks of sand missing.