Unsettled Weather Slows Island’s Beach Replenishment

Requires More Work Through Summer
Jul 25, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

The contractor working on beach replenishment in the northern section of Surf City resumed work Tuesday after it was paused due to recent weather conditions, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. When that work is complete, the beachfill project will continue in the southern area of the borough, Steve Rochette, a public affairs officer for the Corps, the project’s federal sponsor, said July 24.

“Both the R.S. Weeks pipeline dredge (working in Harvey Cedars) and the dredge Magdalen (working in Surf City) were offline due to the recent weather,” he said.

Weather has played a significant role in delaying the replenishment work this year, pushing back projects in a section of Brant Beach, Surf City and Harvey Cedars from spring to summer and prompting complaints from beachgoers across social media.

“Ideally, construction takes place outside of the summer season, but there is a limited number of dredges capable of completing this type of project,” the Army Corps notes on its website. “Additionally, weather, mechanical issues and progress on other projects has significantly impacted the schedule for work on Long Beach Island.”

Earlier this month, equipment repairs and a contract option for more sand altered the estimated completion date for Harvey Cedars to the beginning of September. Weeks Marine Inc. cleared a number of clogs and replaced a damaged section of the subline, which runs on the ocean floor from the borrow area to the shore, Rochette said. Work began in the borough in late May, and was originally expected to finish around the end of this month.

For the Harvey Cedars project, Weeks is first proceeding south, and will then flip and pump north to the border of the Loveladies section of Long Beach Township.

In Surf City, the hopper dredge Magdalen began operations in mid-June. The pipe landing was made at 11th Street, and beachfill moved north before it flips and heads south toward the border of Ship Bottom. The Magdalen experienced post-dry-dock mechanical difficulties with newly installed equipment that slowed overall production earlier this month.

Despite this equipment issue, work in Surf City is still anticipated to end later this month. On Tuesday afternoon, the 25th Street beach in Surf City reopened, but the Magdalen was expected to return to safe harbor due to forecasted weather conditions later that day, according to project information on the Army Corps website.

Meanwhile, in Harvey Cedars, access to the Hudson Avenue beach remained closed July 24. The R.S. Weeks is currently on standby with the expectation to resume dredging and beachfill operations Friday, July 27, or Saturday, July 28, project information on the Army Corps website said late Monday afternoon.

Additionally, the Army Corps is continuing to monitor eroded beaches at the southern tip of Long Beach Island in Holgate.

“We are certainly aware of erosion at the southern end of Holgate, and we will continue to work with NJDEP (the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection), Long Beach Township and stakeholders on the issue,” Rochette said late Tuesday afternoon. “It’s not part of our current contract,” which is just for the three sections of the project, Harvey Cedars, Surf City and Brant Beach, that weren’t part of the 2015-16 construction.

Restoration work in Beach Haven and Holgate was finished in March, followed by demobilization and removal of equipment. The $18.4 million project, paid for by the state DEP’s Shore Protection Fund, included clearing shoals from Little Egg Inlet, a major thoroughfare for boat traffic between southern LBI and Brigantine, to clear a navigable boat channel 24 feet below mean sea level.

Check nap.usace.army.mil/lbi for project updates.

— Gina G. Scala


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