A hectic hurricane season in Florida has delayed until September the start of Fenwick Island’s beach replenishment project.
Bean Stuyvesant LLC, the Louisiana-based contractor, pledged to bring in equipment for the effort on Monday, Aug. 1 and scheduled to begin pumping sand on Aug. 15. With the company’s apparatuses tied up in the storm-stricken Sunshine State, however, the machinery will not move in before mid-August, according to Fenwick Island Town Council President Peter Frederick, and dredging will not start before Labor Day.
“The equipment that will be used in Fenwick is being used to finish up a job in Florida, and my understanding is [the delay is] directly related to the fact that we’re up to ‘H’ now,” Frederick said. “That’s an awful lot of storms and these guys don’t get paid until they’re finished.”
Frederick, who has been told the work will take six to eight weeks, then expects Fenwick to start planting grass and shrubberies on the refurbished dunes before Thanksgiving.
“Actually, it’s probably better because we’ve had huge crowds on our beaches,” he said. “And if we started closing off our beaches with the heat the way it is, we would have some very unhappy residents.”
Aside from the timetable, the holdup will not significantly alter any blueprints, Frederick said. The Town of Fenwick Island still intends to walk away from the replenishment with a 250-foot-wide stretch of sand, aesthetically similar to the coastline in Dewey Beach, and a 75-foot dune — 25 up, 25 across and 25 down. The project’s price tag remains $4.5 million to $6 million, with the federal government paying two-thirds of the tab and the state picking up the remainder.
“The beach fill is economically justified. They do need the extra sand to protect against storms,” said Ed Voigt, spokesman for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia branch, which will manage the project. “But this is not an emergency response. We do work based on projects, not urgency.”
Bean Stuyvesant intends to start at the north end of Fenwick Island and toil its way south, Frederick said. The contractor will establish staging areas at Bayard, Farmington and Indian streets. Up to 1,000 feet of beach — or approximately two blocks — can be cordoned off at any one time under the agreed terms, and pipes may remain on open swaths of sand until completion.
The Army Corps of Engineers, Voigt said, will maintain the beach’s nourishment by returning every three or four years.