WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH — After multiple delays, Wrightsville Beach’s renourishment is slated to begin Dec. 17, according to town officials.
The project will place 1 million cubic yards of sand from the south of the Blockade Runner on Seashore Street to the north of the Holiday Inn Resort Lumina at beach access number 8.
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.
Marinex will place dredge pipes from Masonboro Inlet off-shore and return on-shore near Seashore Street. The project will be constructed from south to north. Though a completion date has not yet been announced, it’s expected to wrap between March and April 2024.
Wrightsville Beach has been in need of sand since 2022, when its last renourishment cycle was scheduled. The dredge was postponed 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 to pull from the inlet this cycle to repair the eroded shoreline. The federal government approved the request in August.
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