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The Grand Strand is known for its 60 miles of beaches. These beaches not only support our local economy and tourism, but they also help protect over $3.5 billion worth of shorefront property and provide critical habitat for sea turtles, shore birds, and other marine wildlife. To protect our valuable beaches and minimize the impact of recent storm damage, a beach renourishment project began in 2017, pumping sand onto Surfside, Garden City and North Myrtle Beaches.
Barring any historic hurricanes or natural disasters, 2019 will be the final year of the current beach renourishment cycle. Once work is complete this Spring/Summer, routine beach renourishment will not happen for another 7-10 years. Work is expected to begin for this final phase in May 2019. The renourishment process will include North Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach and Garden City. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has indicated that Surfside Beach will not be included in this final year of the beach renourishment cycle because they are already at the ideal sand level. A complete schedule for the 2019 renourishment cycle will be announced in April 2019.
During the renourishment project construction operations must proceed around the clock and will, on average, move along the shoreline at a rate of about 200 to 300 feet per day. Only approximately 1,000 feet of beach access will be restricted per day, leaving most area beaches available for use.
The public can track the progress of the project on a real-time basis.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, awarded a $34.8 million contract for the Myrtle Beach Storm Damage Reduction Project to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, LLC, which will place approximately 1.4 million cubic yards of material on Myrtle, North Myrtle, Garden City and Surfside Beaches. Learn More
Yes. Although certain inconveniences are unavoidable, the project will be conducted as quickly, efficiently and safely as possible. During active construction, most of these beaches will remain open and available for the public to enjoy. An area of about 1,000 feet long is closed for two or three days while renourishment is in progress, but temporary beach access ramps will accommodate visitors to the beach. As soon as a section is built up, it is immediately re-opened.
The contractor works 24 hours a day, seven days a week during construction, usually completing up to 500 feet per day, barring mechanical or weather/sea condition delays. This means that active construction moves quickly and will only be in front of any building or area for two or three days.
“Both the Corps and our non-federal sponsors for this project, the City of North Myrtle Beach and Horry County, acknowledge that construction during the summer will cause temporary inconveniences to people using these stretches of beach for recreation,” said Wes Wilson, project manager. “However, beginning the construction project now enables the major, long-term benefits of protecting people and property from storm damage to be realized as soon as possible.”
Even then, the area fenced off is usually about 1,000 feet long, so it's easy to go around the active construction area. Pipelines running along the beach outside of the fenced area can safely be crossed where the contractor places crossover sand ramps over the pipes. The public should keep away from lines and only cross them at the sand crossovers.
The progress of the project can be tracked on a real-time basis, including where the temporary closure will take place, with an interactive map created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The project is permitted for, and will be constructed, 24 hours a day, seven (7) days a week
The back-up alarms cannot be turned off. The alarms are a safety device required by federal law to protect people from being hit by machinery when the driver is unable to see directly behind his equipment.
Yes. A firm is contracted to monitor vibrations from the construction equipment throughout the project.
The sand is dredged from the offshore borrow areas into a hopper dredge. The hopper dredge motors from the borrow area closer to the project site and hooks up to a submerged pipeline. The submerged pipeline runs from just off the beach up onto the beach and connects to shore pipeline, which runs laterally along the dry beach. The sand is discharged as a water/sand slurry mixture through the pipeline, and bulldozers reshape the sand to meet the designed construction template.
The nourishment sand will be excavated by a hydraulic dredge and picks up small amounts of shell and mud with the sand. For that reason, newly placed sand at first often appears quite dark. Within a few days, however, the sun oxidizes the non-sandy material, and the beach eventually turns as light as it was before the project.
Since this project takes place during a portion of sea turtle nesting season, the Corps is working with South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts who have already begun relocating nests away from areas of the beach that will be nourished.
Beach renourishment is an environmentally sensitive and educational opportunity that benefits both residents and visitors. A wider beach provides extended storm protection in Horry County for more than $3.7 billion of oceanfront residential and business properties. A wider beach ensures a protected and sustained natural environment for the sea turtles and sea birds that make their homes or nest on our beaches.
A beach renourishment is necessary every seven to 10 years, depending on weather conditions and storms passing through the area. Horry County’s last beach renourishment was in 2008.