Article  in The Sandpaper— Juliet Kaszas-Hoch and Eric Englund

juliet@thesandpaper.net

The schedule for beach replenishment on Long Beach Island has changed once again, with contractor Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. now set to begin dredging in Ship Bottom in late April.

Work for the LBI Coastal Storm Damage Reduction project, a joint effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District and the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection, was previously expected to begin in southern Long Beach Township. However, as ACE Public Affairs Officer Steve Rochette explained, “Great Lakes modified the schedule based on equipment availability and operational considerations.”

Great Lakes plans to mobilize two dredges, the Padre Island and the Dodge Island, to commence the beach renourishment. Pipe landings will be made at Eighth Street and 23rd Street in Ship Bottom when the work begins next month. “From each landing site, construction will first progress north and then flip and progress south,” said Rochette. “Beachfill operations are expected to last 35 days within the borough of Ship Bottom.”

Crews will then move to southern Long Beach Township, around 106th Street in Beach Haven Park, and will progress south to the end of the project in Holgate. Five pipe landing sites will be necessary for this section of the project.

“A third dredge, the Liberty Island, is scheduled to mobilize to the project site in August 2015 and begin operations in one of the remaining sections of the project,” Rochette noted.

No more than 1,000 feet of beach will be closed as work progresses along the Island; closed sections are “rolling,” said Rochette, and advance as the beachfill progresses. Great Lakes anticipates construction to progress approximately 100 feet per day.

Under the base contract, all work is required to be complete by April 12, 2016, though there are currently options on the contract for further work that, if awarded, could add time to the contract completion date. Weather and mechanical delays may also cause a change in the construction schedule and completion date.

Last year, the Army Corps awarded a $128 million contract to Great Lakes for this project, which involves dredging approximately 8 million cubic yards of sand from an approved borrow area 3 miles offshore.

As the Corps reports, “The sand will be pumped through a series of pipes onto the beaches within the municipalities of Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom, Beach Haven and a small section of Surf City over a length of 12.7 miles. The sand is then built into a dune and berm system designed to reduce potential damages to infrastructure, businesses, and homes that can occur from coastal storm events.”

The contract also includes the construction of dune crossovers, dune fencing installation and dune grass plantings.

Ship Bottom Mayor William Huelsenbeck said he is happy with the project’s revised schedule.

“This was welcome news for us,” he said. “I am especially pleased that we will be able to get this done before the next hurricane season.”

Huelsenbeck said that if there are no last-minute delays or problems due to weather, the Ship Bottom part of the project should be completed in time for Memorial Day weekend. “Dune grass will have to be replanted, but that will be done in the fall,” he said.

The mayor said the Ship Bottom work should take less time than in the other municipalities because it already has some areas with a strong dune structure.

“But still, we saw how vulnerable we were after Superstorm Sandy,” said Huelsenbeck. “This work will strengthen our beaches so that we’ll have better protection the next time a major storm hits us.”

The LBI project was only partially completed when Superstorm Sandy hit the Jersey Shore in fall 2012. Prior to that, “the Army Corps completed the initial construction of the project at Surf City in 2006; Harvey Cedars in 2010; and Brant Beach between 31st and 57th Streets, in Long Beach Township, in 2012,” an ACE press release stated. “The Army Corps repaired beaches in Surf City and Harvey Cedars in 2012 after Hurricane Irene, and fully restored the beaches within all three communities after Hurricane Sandy in 2013. The restoration and repair work was funded 100 percent through the Army Corps’ Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies program. The current contract will complete the initial construction of the dune and berm system on Long Beach Island.

“Construction is funded entirely by the federal government through the 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (PL113-2), commonly known as the Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill. Following the completion of initial construction, the project is eligible for continued periodic nourishment.”

Updates on the project will be posted to the ACE website – www.nap.usace.army.mil – as information is available.