Emerald Isle beach nourishment to start last week of January

The yellow numbers at the bottom of the graphic show the amounts of sand to be deposited on Emerald Isle beaches. The black writing at the top indicates the geographic areas where that sand will be placed. (Contributed graphic)

EMERALD ISLE — The Emerald Isle beach nourishment project is officially set to begin the final week of January.

That was the word from Carteret County Shore Protection Office Manager Greg Rudolph after a preconstruction meeting Tuesday with town, state and federal officials, the contractor for the project and the county’s beach engineering firm.

The contractor, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co. of Illinois, “plans to mobilize land- and water-based pipe, heavy equipment, personnel, etc. starting in December and dredging/pumping is scheduled to begin in the final week of January 2021,” Mr. Rudolph said in an email. “The ‘dog-leg’ (vehicular beach access ramp) near the Emerald Isle Eastern (Ocean) Regional Access will serve as the main point for staging … the land-based pipe.”

Two dredge boats will be involved in the project, which will place 2,012,850 cubic yards of sand in extreme western, western, central and extreme eastern Emerald Isle at a cost of $36.1 million.

“The dredge Liberty Island will arrive onsite first and will generally progress and ‘leapfrog’ west-to-east in central and east Emerald Isle,” Mr. Rudolph said. “At some point in mid-March the larger … dredge, the Ellis Island will accompany the Liberty Island and serve the (extreme western end of the project, closest to Bogue Inlet) and could subsequently stay onsite to help complete the project before the (Friday) April 30 environmental window closes for the sea turtle nesting season and other biological resources.”

Mr. Rudolph said the dredge boats, as in past projects on Bogue Banks, will vacuum up the sand from a borrow site in the ocean off Atlantic Beach, then travel west and discharge the sand to Emerald Isle beaches through a pipe offshore that connects to the beach via a long, submerged pipeline.

A secondary “elbow” pipe on the strand is used to transport material in one direction (east), then the other direction (west) along the beach to complete approximately 1- to 2-mile sections as lengths of pipe are added and subsequently broken down and moved until the work is finished.

The project totals 9.4 linear miles of beach in Emerald Isle, with 166,350 cubic yards of sand to be deposited in the extreme west off Coast Guard Road, 708,750 cubic yards to the west of that, 537,750 cubic yards in the center of the town and 600,000 cubic yards in the extreme east.

“As a mental picture, a conventional dump truck holds roughly 12 cubic yards of wet sand,” Mr. Rudolph said.

The Liberty Island has a capacity of 6,540 cubic yards of sand, while the Ellis Island can hold 14,800 cubic yards.

Project engineers from Moffatt & Nichol, the county’s beach engineering firm, will use stations along the beach to monitor construction progress and verify in-place volumes of sand pumped on the beach, Mr. Rudolph said.

The beach will be contoured by tying into the existing, eroded frontal dunes at mostly 12 to 14 feet above sea level and sloping down toward the ocean. Once that is done, vegetation will be planted on the new dunes.

The project is phase three of the post-Hurricane Florence 2018 nourishment effort. Phase one covered almost all of Salter Path, all of Indian Beach and eastern Emerald Isle. It was completed in 2019 and cost $20.2 million. Phase two covered western Atlantic Beach, all of Pine Knoll Shores, the remainder of Salter Path and a portion of western Emerald Isle and cost $28.2 million. It was completed this spring.

 

Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.

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