Home News Ocean City Prepares for Next Round of Beach Replenishment in South End…

Ocean City Prepares for Next Round of Beach Replenishment in South End…

Bulldozers distribute sand across the beach at 42nd Street last April.

By Donald Wittkowski

Centuries ago, China built its Great Wall to protect its borders from invaders. 

Ocean City is building its own great wall of sorts — a long, sandy barrier designed to protect the island community from the ravages of storm-tossed seas. 

A flurry of activity is expected to begin in March on a beach replenishment project in the south end of town that is a centerpiece of citywide coastal fortifications, including the dunes. 

“When they’re done, we’ll have a complete line of dunes from north to south protecting the properties. And we’ll have wide and healthy beaches from tip to tip for perhaps the first time since the island was developed,” Mayor Jay Gillian said in his annual State of the City address on Feb. 11. 

Replenished beaches in the south end will complement a similar project in the north end that was completed in late December. 

In the north end, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pumped nearly 1 million cubic yards of sand onto the beaches between the northernmost jetty at Seaspray Road and 12th Street. 

The project included 40,000 cubic yards of sand to restore the dunes. Some tapering work was also done to connect the rebuilt beach to the existing beach at 13th Street, according to a city summary of the project. 

Ocean City’s share of the $12.3 million north end project was about $1.1 million, with federal and state funds covering the rest of the cost. The project was part of a 50-year agreement that calls for a regular three-year cycle of beach replenishment, city spokesman Doug Bergen said. 

Now, the same Army Corps of Engineers contractor that did the work in the north end is expected to return to Ocean City in March to oversee another round of replenishment for the south end beaches. 

As of Thursday (Dec. 10), the north end beach replenishment project was at Eighth Street.

Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. will restore about 323,000 cubic yards of sand washed away during a nor’easter in October 2015. 

The October storm struck just after the contractor had replenished the south end beaches between 37th Street and 59th Street as part of efforts to rebuild the coastlines of Ocean City, Strathmere and Sea Isle City following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. 

That project pumped about 1.6 million cubic yards of new sand onto Ocean City’s depleted southern beaches, which had been so badly flattened by Sandy that the Ocean met the bay. 

Altogether, an extra 1 million cubic yards of sand will be added to Ocean City, Strathmere and Sea Isle City to replace what was swept away in the October storm. The $15.8 million price tag will be paid entirely by the federal government under the post-Sandy replenishment program. 

“Because the dredge (contractor) was still on hand, the federal government agreed to go back and redo the sand that was lost at the south end, Strathmere and Sea Isle,” Bergen said. 

The contractor is currently in Strathmere and will head to Sea Isle City next before arriving in Ocean City sometime in March. Completion is scheduled by Memorial Day, just in time for the start of the peak summer tourist season, according to Bergen. 

Gillian is expected to meet with representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers on Wednesday to discuss the south end’s replenishment. However, the mayor told City Council after he delivered his State of the City address that he also plans to lobby for more replenishment work in the north end. 

There is no indication yet whether the Army Corps intends to do that, Bergen said.