By MADDY VITALE
Danny Russo, of Hoboken, looked out over the beach in the north end near Seaspray Road, where Ocean City’s project to pump in fresh sand to replenish the eroded shoreline was wrapping up Thursday. He said he couldn’t believe his eyes.
“The beaches are like four times bigger than they were last year,” he said with a smile.
Russo, his best friend, Dallas Wilkins, of Newark, and his father, David Russo, spent some time on the beach fishing. They come to Ocean City every summer for a getaway.
“We didn’t catch anything, but we’re definitely happy about the beaches,” David Russo noted.
The work is the culmination of a major beach replenishment program that began in the spring to rebuild beaches across approximately 2.1 miles of Ocean City’s northernmost and downtown beaches.
While the work brought some inconvenience to beachgoers with hulking machinery and beach closures at various locations throughout the summer, vacationers seemed pleased with the results.
“They are so much bigger,” said Jill Urban, of Abington, Pa.
She and her husband, Kevin, were married in Ocean City 15 years ago on Sept. 17 and were celebrating their anniversary with a vacation.
“The storms always take the beaches away. It is hard to say if the sand will stay, but it feels and looks good right now,” Kevin Urban noted.
Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen explained the progress of the work on the north end beaches. On Thursday morning work was at a temporary standstill, but was scheduled was to resume in the afternoon.
“Great Lakes Dredge and Dock is repairing a damaged gasket this morning,” Bergen said of the beach replenishment contractor. “Work is expected to resume around noon, and they have about 10 hours and 15,745 cubic yards to go before completing the project at the terminal groin near Seaview Road.”
So far, they have pumped 1,589,420 cubic yards of new sand onto more than two miles of beach. The contractor will demobilize as much equipment as possible before the holiday weekend. But no work will take place Friday to Monday, and all beaches will have full access, Bergen said.
In addition to pumping sand onto the beaches, the contractor also stockpiled sand, so the city can rebuild areas of dune to create an uninterrupted line across the length of the project area. A dredge was placed off Great Egg Harbor Inlet and a pipeline was run underwater and on the beach.
“The project will bring more than 1.6 million cubic yards of new sand to rebuild beaches across approximately 2.1 miles of Ocean City’s northernmost and downtown beaches,” Bergen pointed out.
Surfers and best friends, Dylan Pearl and Will Brown, 25, both of Philadelphia, enjoyed the ocean and the beach Thursday morning.
They came down to Brown’s family home in Ocean City to celebrate Pearl’s 26th birthday.
While they acknowledged that the project disrupted surfing at certain beaches sometimes, they also saw a lot of positives.
“It’s definitely nice to have bigger beaches,” Pearl said.