The Grand Strand is known for its 60 miles of beaches. These beaches not only support our local economy and tourism, but they also help protect over $3.5 billion worth of shorefront property and provide critical habitat for sea turtles, shore birds, and other marine wildlife. To protect our valuable beaches and minimize the impact of recent storm damage, a beach renourishment project will begin in July 2017 and run through 2018. Here’s what you need to know.
Although work will commence this summer, only a small portion of beaches are impacted at any given time.
During the renourishment project construction operations must proceed around the clock and will, on average, move along the shoreline at a rate of about 200 to 300 feet per day. Only approximately 1,000 feet of beach access will be restricted per day, leaving most area beaches available for use.
The public can track the progress of the project on a real-time basis located on the Charleston District’s external website.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, recently awarded a $26.3 million contract for the Myrtle Beach Storm Damage Reduction Project to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, LLC, which will place approximately 1.2 million cubic yards of material on North Myrtle Beach and Garden City and Surfside Beaches. This project is funded through federal emergency beach rehabilitation funding from Hurricane Matthew, along with cost-shared construction funding appropriated through Congress.
The construction will begin near Surfside Beach Pier no earlier than July 15th 2017 and work north toward Myrtle Beach State Park. This is estimated to take 25-35 days barring any significant weather or mechanical delays.
After that section is complete, renourishment will then move south from the Surfside Beach Pier toward the southern project boundary in Georgetown County. This section is estimated to take an additional 30-35 days and should be complete by mid-September.
The Corps will be placing approximately 800,000 cubic yards of material on approximately 7.5 miles of Garden City Beach and Surfside Beach.
This phase includes the City of North Myrtle Beach and should begin mid-September or October of 2017 and be completed in November 2017. It will cover approximately 3.5 miles of the beach and move 400,000 cubic yards of material.
The Myrtle Beach section will follow the completion of reach 1 and reach 3 sometime in 2018. The planning and RFP process is underway with details and dates to follow later.
Yes. Although certain inconveniences are unavoidable, the project will be conducted as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible. During active construction, most of these beaches will remain open and available for the public to enjoy. An area of about 1,000 feet long is closed for two or three days while renourishment is in progress, but temporary beach access ramps will accommodate visitors to the beach. As soon as a section is built up, it is immediately re-opened.
The contractor works 24 hours a day, seven days a week during construction, usually completing up to 500 feet per day, barring mechanical or weather/sea condition delays. This means that active construction moves quickly and will only be in front of any building or area for two or three days.
“Both the Corps and our non-federal sponsors for this project, the City of North Myrtle Beach and Horry County, acknowledge that construction during the summer will cause temporary inconveniences to people using these stretches of beach for recreation,” said Wes Wilson, project manager. “However, beginning the construction project now enables the major, long-term benefits of protecting people and property from storm damage to be realized as soon as possible.”
Even then, the area fenced off is usually about 1,000 feet long, so it's easy to go around the active construction area. Pipelines running along the beach outside of the fenced area can safely be crossed where the contractor places crossover sand ramps over the pipes. The public should keep away from lines and only cross them at the sand crossovers.
The public can track the progress of the project on a real-time basis, including where the temporary closure will take place, with an interactive map created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The project is permitted for, and will be constructed, 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week
The back-up alarms cannot be turned off. The alarms are a safety device required by federal law to protect people from being hit by machinery when the driver is unable to see directly behind his equipment.
Yes. A firm is contracted to monitor vibrations from the construction equipment throughout the project.
The sand is dredged from the offshore borrow areas into a hopper dredge. The hopper dredge motors from the borrow area closer to the project site and hooks up to a submerged pipeline. The submerged pipeline runs from just off the beach up onto the beach and connects to shore pipeline, which runs laterally along the dry beach. The sand is discharged as a water/sand slurry mixture through the pipeline, and bulldozers reshape the sand to meet the designed construction template.
The nourishment sand will be excavated by a hydraulic dredge and picks up small amounts of shell and mud with the sand. For that reason, newly placed sand at first often appears quite dark. Within a few days, however, the sun oxidizes the non-sandy material, and the beach eventually turns as light as it was before the project.
Since this project takes place during a portion of sea turtle nesting season, the Corps is working with South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts who have already begun relocating nests away from areas of the beach that will be nourished.
Beach renourishment is an environmentally sensitive and educational opportunity that benefits both residents and visitors. A wider beach provides extended storm protection in Horry County for more than $3.7 billion of oceanfront residential and business properties. A wider beach ensures a protected and sustained natural environment for the sea turtles and sea birds that make their homes or nest on our beaches.
A beach renourishment is necessary every seven to 10 years, depending on weather conditions and storms passing through the area. Horry County’s last beach renourishment was in 2008.