Monday, July 4, 2022

Topsail Beach awards $24.6 million contract for dredging and beach nourishment project

The dredging project will deepen Banks Channel, pictured, and New Topsail Inlet. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
The dredging project will deepen Banks Channel, pictured, and New Topsail Inlet. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

TOPSAIL BEACH — Last week town officials awarded a contract worth $24.6 million for a channel dredging and beach nourishment project expected to begin this December.

The contract was awarded to Weeks Marine, Inc. during a special meeting last Friday. The maritime construction company, based out of New Jersey near New York City, has been involved with projects at Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wilmington Harbor, according to its website.

RELATED: Topsail Island updates: Dorian didn’t add sand, beach vehicle permits, and nourishment projects at $28 million

The project, commonly known as the Local Storm Damage Reduction Plan (SDR), includes the dredging of New Topsail Inlet and the sides of Banks Channel. It is a continuation of the town’s 30-year Beach Management Plan adopted in 2011 and is expected to place up to 2.2 million cubic yards of sand on the beach, including the development of a new layer of dunes.

TI Coastal Services is leading the town’s beach nourishment program. President Chris Gibson in September said the work will consist of building a six-foot-high, 25-foot-wide frontal dune and approximately 125 feet of dry sand beach. Bids for the project were received on September 24.

“This project is near and dear to my heart,” Gibson said. “I have been working with the Town for 10 years, and this community is my home. The design of this project will allow us to dredge material every four or five years for beach nourishment, while keeping the water deep enough for boats to get in and out of the channels the entire time.”

A US Army Corps of Engineers map from a survey of New Topsail Inlet performed in late June, early July. Water depth levels range from areas marked in blue (15 feet or deeper) and red (4 to 6 feet deep). (Graphic courtesy US Army Corps of Engineers)
A US Army Corps of Engineers map from a survey of New Topsail Inlet performed in late June to early July. Water depth levels range from areas marked in blue (15 feet or deeper) and red (4 to 6 feet deep). (Graphic courtesy US Army Corps of Engineers)

The project will also include finishing repairs of dunes damaged by Florence, according to Town Manager Michael Rose.

“That new dune will certainly help mitigate a lot of the storm damage that could occur in future storms, whether nor’easters or hurricanes,” Rose said in September. “Let’s hope not anytime soon.”

The town’s beach nourishment work began in 2003 when town commissioners set aside a portion of its tax rate for a beach fund. Several projects have been implemented through this fund, according to a town release. In 2016, Topsail Beach was named “Best Restored Beach” by the American Shore and Beach Preservation Association.

The project is expected to start in mid-December and run through April 2020.


Mark Darrough can be reached at Mark@Localvoicemedia.com or (970) 413-3815

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