Article in The Sandpaper By: Juliet Kaszas-Hoch with Eric Englund

Contractor Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. has released to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers a tentative schedule for the upcoming beach replenishment on Long Beach Island, with one dredge to begin in mid or late August in Loveladies, working south, and a second dredge to start in early September near 110th Street in the Haven Beach section of Long Beach Township, also working south.

According to ACE Public Affairs Officer Steve Rochette, the schedule from Great Lakes is preliminary, and “is subject to change based on dredge availability and the status of other projects (in the region and outside the region), and in our experience it often does change. We’ve notified the communities of the tentative schedule, but let them know there is a chance it may change.”

Last year, the Army Corps awarded a $128 million contract to Great Lakes to complete the initial construction of the Long Beach Island Coastal Storm Damage Reduction project, a joint effort of the ACE Philadelphia District and the N.J. Department of Environmental Protection.

“The work will involve dredging approximately eight million cubic yards of sand from an approved borrow area approximately three miles offshore of Long Beach Island,” the ACE reported. “The sand will be pumped through a series of pipes onto the beaches within the municipalities of Long Beach Town-ship, 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.Work is expected to conclude by May 2016.Ship Bottom Mayor William Huelsenbeck had hoped that the project would have started this winter in time for the hurricane season, which begins June 1.

“Much of this depends on when the dredge will be available, since a company like Great Lakes is involved in various other projects,” he said. “I just hope it can start in the fall because we’ve been waiting for this for a while. There has been talk about this for around 10 years.”He said that if the work should begin in late August, which would create problems at the end of the beach season, people should look at the bigger picture.“We’re getting protection which we sorely need,” he said. “If people didn’t think we needed the project, I’m sure Sandy changed a lot of their minds.”The LBI project was only partially completed when Superstorm Sandy hit the Jersey Shore in October 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,” the Corps added. “Following the comple-tion 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.