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Corps awards Florida business $23 million contract, helps protect Virginia space-flight facilities

Norfolk District Public Affairs Office
Published Feb. 7, 2020
A wide-angle view of an inert Minotaur V launch vehicle is erected on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's pad 0B at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia during a pathfinder exercise for NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) Mission.

A wide-angle view of an inert Minotaur V launch vehicle is erected on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport's pad 0B at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia during a pathfinder exercise for NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) Mission.

NORFOLK, Va. – The Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $23.7 million contract to Miami-based business Continental Heavy Civil Corp. for beach renourishment at the NASA Wallops Island Flight Facility on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.  

The project includes construction of breakwaters and placing 1.3 million cubic yards of sand along a four-mile stretch of the facility’s waterfront. 

The sand will be gathered from a borrow site located on the northern section of the Wallops Island Flight Facility.

“We are proud to be handling the oversight for this important project, which helps to reduce risk to one of the nation’s gateways to space,” said Julio Altuna, Norfolk District project manager. “This particular project is of great importance to the district as it is the first time we have renourished a beach using the backpassing method (the use of trucks to haul the sand), giving us more flexibility for future projects.

 After studying the movement of sand along Wallops Island, engineers discovered it was accumulating along the northern side of the island. They decided to forego dredging the material from the ocean floor, and use a method that excavates the sand from the northern portion of the island, and truck it back to the southern part of the island. 

This method keeps the inlet open, protects the infrastructure and allows a wider array of contractors to bid on the project. 

“There are only a few companies equipped to handle a dredging job this big, but a much larger pool of contractors exist that can handle excavation and truck hauling material operations,” Altuna said.

The beach along Wallops was originally nourished in 2012, with a follow-on renourishment project in 2014 after hurricane Sandy eroded sections of the beach.

“This beach replenishment project is critical to protecting the more than $1.2 billion in federal, state and commercial assets on Wallops Island,” said Dave Pierce, Wallops Flight Facility director. “Wallops is a critical economic engine for the Eastern Shore, and these assets are vital in assuring access to space for science and space exploration missions, technology development, as well as supporting commercial and government launch customers.”

Work along the beach is expected to begin this spring and is scheduled to last around 12 months.

This marks the first time the district has awarded a contract to Continental Heavy Civil Corp., which has done work for other districts—mostly in Florida and Georgia.

The Norfolk District has an initiative to continue growing its contractor base and this marks the second contract award to a first-time contractor this fiscal year.

Norfolk District provides innovative engineering solutions, in collaboration with partners, to deliver water resources, military, interagency, environmental and disaster-response programs that make communities, the commonwealth of Virginia and nation a better place to work and live.