Nov 102011


Published by The Wave

BETHANY BEACH — Despite equipment failure and recent bad weather, the beach replenishment project is proceeding in South Bethany, officials said.

The project started the first weekend of October and there was an immediate malfunction, said Sarah Rivette, spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

“The dredge that we’re using had to have some repairs,” she said, noting work resumed on Oct. 24.

Less than a week later, work was halted again when weather forecasts predicted heavy winds and rain.

According to Maria Shalder of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, equipment was further damaged, but crews were able to return to work at the end of last week.

“It’s a harsh environment out there with all the salt water and the waves and they expect this,” she said. “That is why they work these extra days into the bids. They understand (this might happen).”

This year’s beach replenishment project has not been without its share of hiccups.

The South Bethany portion of the project was originally slated to begin Sept. 6, but was held up because the contract between the Army Corps, DNREC and contractors Great Lakes Dredge & Dock was changed to accommodate additional funding.

In Fenwick Island, work that was suppose to begin in June took place in August — at the height of the summer season — and created excessive noise from overnight work, beach closures and a muddy sludge on the beach that upset vacationers.

While the delays may not be ideal, officials said the only stipulation in the contract is that the work has to be completed by May.

According to Bethany Beach Town Manager Cliff Graviet, crews should be in town by mid-November, with work taking about 46 days. The project will deposit 700,000 cubic yards of sand along the beach, he said.

“The Corps has been contracted only for the placement (of sand) on the beach,” Graviet said. “DNREC will be responsible for the dunes and crossovers.”

The contractor also hopes to get started in Rehoboth and Dewey around the same time, with the work being done simultaneously, Shadler said.

“They don’t have to wait to finish in Bethany before they start in Dewey and Rehoboth,” because the equipment will be different, Shadler said.

Equipment was due to arrive in Dewey over the weekend, said Sam Mackert, police chief and interim town manager.

The original funding for the regularly scheduled beach renourishment was combined with money from the government to repair the sand dunes after the nor’easter of 2009.

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