Thursday, June 20, 2024

USACE awards $13.6 million beach renourishment contract in WB

Marinex Construction will be responsible for Wrightsville Beach’s renourishment this winter. (Port City Daily/file photo)

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — A local beach town’s long-awaited beach renourishment is now contracted for this winter.

READ MORE: It’s been 57 months since WB was renourished — and it is delayed again

The United States Army Corps of Engineers Wilmington District awarded a
$13.6 million contract to the Charleston, South Carolina, company Marinex Construction, Inc. for the renourishment. The project is 100% federally funded.

All beach work is to be completed during the established environmental window from November 16, 2023, to March 31, 2024. The work consists of dredging, screening, and placing beach-quality sand on the beach for Coastal Storm Risk Management.

Wrightsville Beach has been in need of sand since 2022, when its last renourishment cycle was scheduled. The dredge was postponed twice and moved locations twice largely due to a reinterpretation of the federal Coastal Barrier Resource Act. That law bans federal money from being spent on projects that would pull sand out of the law’s protected zones. This includes nearby Masonboro and Mason inlets on both ends of Wrightsville Beach, despite Wrightsville Beach using Masonboro inlet for decades.

In summer 2022, USACE decided to move the dredge site a few miles offshore to an area riddled with tires from a 1970s manmade reef. Masonboro Inlet was still the preferred method due to the complications associated with dodging tires during the dredge; plus, Masonboro has a shorter timeline, cheaper price tag and less risk for wildlife.

USACE applied for an emergency exception to the law that would allow them to pull from the inlet this cycle to repair the eroded shoreline. The federal government approved the request in August.


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