Did we just waste $34 million on rebuilding beaches? Project paused for Hurricane Florence

Beach renourishment efforts were halted along the Grand Strand and the work done so far will be tested by Hurricane Florence.

The $34 million U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project was paused Monday so equipment could be moved out of the path of the storm, according to regulatory chief Tommy Fennel.

Project manager Wes Wilson said crews had just completed the Garden City/Surfside Beach portion of the project and had moved into position to begin work in Myrtle Beach.

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Storm preparation included moving about 25,000 feet of pipe, five to six loaders and two dredges — boats offshore that pump sand onto the beach — to safe locations, Wilson said.

He said they’re hoping to get the equipment back to Myrtle Beach next weekend or early the following week. The project was ahead of schedule, so they’re still on track to complete renourishment in Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach by Dec. 15, Wilson added.

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Fennel said the work already done will help protect Garden City and Surfside Beach communities from the impact of Hurricane Florence.

“Every cubic yard of sand we put on the beach is more protection that wasn’t there,” he said.

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The project involves 1.4 million cubic yards of sand, equivalent to about 40,000 dump truck loads, Wilson said.

The corps will survey conditions after the hurricane passes, Wilson said, and any additional sand that’s needed will lead to an increase in the original cost of the contract.

“We’ll be the first dredge pumping sand after Florence,” he said.

David Weissman: @WeissmanMBO; 770-377-5326

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