Strong northeast wind and rough seas stalled work Monday on the eve of the south end beach replenishment project’s completion.
The federal Army Corps of Engineers had estimated that Monday (Sept. 21) would be the final day for sand-pumping operations, and the pipeline carrying new sand now extends past the announced end of the project area at 59th Street.
But the weather forced the hopper dredge Liberty Island to return to port, Army Corps spokesman Richard Pearsall said on Tuesday.
He said the contractor hopes to resume work by the end of the week to finish the last bit of work: tapering the wide beach that ends at 59th Street to meet the eroded beach of Corson’s Inlet State Park, which will not be part of the project.
Pearsall said the new estimated completion date is “by the end of the month,” taking into account further weather delays.
In Ocean City, the work restored eroded beaches between 37th Street and 59th Street. The project is part of a $57 million effort to rebuild beaches and protective dunes in southern Ocean City, Strathmere and Sea Isle City.
The work is funded entirely by the federal government as part of post-Superstorm Sandy work to protect coastal property. The south end will now be part of a cycle of planned renourishment projects every three years.
Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company began work in April, but work was stalled for 11 weeks for repairs to the dredge. A separate dredge working in Sea Isle City, the Illinois, is out for repairs with only a small amount of work remaining, estimated to be complete in mid-October.
There’s a good possibility that the Illinois could move straight from Sea Isle City to the northern end of Ocean City to complete a scheduled renourishment project between Seaspray Road and 15th Street.
The two projects would give Ocean City wide beaches and protective dunes from end to end for the first time since the island and boardwalk were first developed.