That large machine just offshore of Surfside Beach isn’t an oil rig--it’s a dredge, and it’s helping expand the beach.
Surfside is the site of a long-awaited beach renourishment project, run by the Army Corps of Engineers, which will help put more sand back on the beach.
Sand is taken off beaches and deposited into near-shore sand bars by large storms, like Hurricane Matthew last fall. The dredge will suck that sand from the ocean and send it through a pipe, back to the shore.
Town Administrator Micki Fellner said that the workers are not sure on the exact day the pumping will begin. The start date will depend on how quickly the rest of the equipment for the project can be put in place, she said.
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During the project, 1,000-foot sections of the beach will be closed off to visitors. Fellner said the town is posting updates on the work on its Facebook page, which says no single property will be blocked for more than two or three days.
The Army Corps’ work will move north of the Surfside pier to the town’s boundary with Myrtle Beach State Park, then south of the pier to the bottom of the town and through Garden City.
The rest of the Grand Strand, which lost much of its natural sand dune protection when it was battered last fall, is also awaiting renourishment. North Myrtle Beach will see the start of its renourishment work this fall, and Myrtle Beach is scheduled for next summer.
Those interested in following the progress of the project in Surfside can check the online construction tracker at http://arcg.is/2vtOO2X.