Emerald Isle nourishment project headed toward erosion ‘hot spot’

Beach nourishment continues in Emerald Isle, and the project is near the halfway point. Some of the work Friday, shown here, was near Howe Street. (Carteret County Shore Protection Office photo)

EMERALD ISLE — The Emerald Isle beach nourishment project is nearing the halfway point, with 4.1 of 9.4 miles complete as of the end of the day Thursday.

“Nourishment is complete all the way from Sound-of-the-Sea condominiums to Elizabeth Street (roughly 21,800 linear feet),” Carteret County Shore Protection Office Manager Greg Rudolph said in an email Thursday.

The dredge vessel Ellis Island started pumping sand through the submerged pipe that emerges from the ocean at 14th Street, and nourishment work will head east from there toward the lower-numbered streets of eastern Emerald Isle.

The other dredge, the Liberty Island, is working off a line at Rhett Street, moving west to tie into the finished section that stops at Elizabeth Street.

The Ellis Island will go into port Sunday for fueling, which will take most of the day, Mr. Rudolph said.

The beach along the “numbered streets” in eastern Emerald Isle has long been known as an erosion hot spot, based on two decades of detailed monitoring by the county’s engineering firm, Moffatt & Nichol. The work in the section this year will be the sixth time it has been nourished since 2003. The county evaluated and will implement a new design “to try enhance the longevity of the beach fill,” Mr. Rudolph said.

The $31.6 million total project by Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. of Illinois added 166,350 cubic yards of sand in the extreme western strand off Coast Guard Road. Other work includes 708,750 cubic yards to the east of that, 537,750 cubic yards in the center of town and 600,000 cubic yards in the extreme east, including the biggest erosion hot spot roughly from 10th Street to 20th Street.

The project must end by the Friday, April 30 environmental deadline, and both vessels are working around the clock.

Meanwhile, Mr. Rudolph said in a separate email, the ongoing Old Ferry Channel/Deer Creek dredging project is on target for completion on or before the Thursday, April 15 extended deadline.

Cape Carteret residents have been upset by the extension from April 1, which they say increased the time for heavy trucks and equipment to damage town streets as they haul dredged material to storage sites.

Mr. Rudolph said he isn’t sure exactly when the contractually required road repairs will begin, but it will be as soon as possible.

“We need to be completed with the project first – no more trucks going up and down the road – to get a full assessment of the severity and locations of what needs to be repaired, replaced, etc.,” he said. “We all understand how important this component is for the success of the project as a whole, and therefore are taking the road repairs just as seriously as we do dredging and disposal.”

 

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

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