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Sandbridge Beach renourishment work underway

Hurricane, storm protection measures take place despite COVID-19

Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published April 22, 2020
Updated: April 22, 2020
Sandbridge beach

The hopper dredge BE Lindholm is anchored off the coast while dozers move sand that was dredged from the ocean's floor, Virginia Beach, Virginia, April 11, 2013. The $13.3 million non-federal project included the dredging and placement of approximately 2 million cubic yards of sand along public beachfront from Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge to the Dam Neck Naval facility, Virginia. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Sandbridge Beach Coastal Storm Damage Reduction Project’s 2020 renourishment cycle kicked off sand-borrow and placement operations April, 8.

The project is crucial in lessening storm-damage risk to this section of Virginia Beach’s infrastructure.

“The nourishment project at Sandbridge is a critical project for both the Corps and the city of Virginia Beach, as it provides storm-damage reduction to those who need it most,” said Ashton Burgin, the Norfolk District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project manager. “The beach is the coast’s first line of defense in the event of a hurricane, and our goal is to provide the maximum amount of protection possible.”

The 725-foot-wide, 5-mile project area stretches from the Dam Neck Fleet Training Center to the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

 In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, the contractor, is only allowing critical personnel onto the dredge and requiring a 14-day quarantine before crews are allowed to mobilize. Additionally, the site hosts a check point for monitoring the temperatures of personnel.

Equipment mobilization began in early March at Little Island Park. With sand-borrow and placement procedures commencing, City officials stated the contractor will finish by the original completion date.

"The city of Virginia Beach is excited to get the beach nourishment underway for Sandbridge Beach,” said James White, city coastal section project manager. “We’re confident that Great Lakes Dredge & Dock will stay on schedule and complete the beach nourishment by May 23.”

The District is serving as project lead and providing construction management of the nourishment contract.

Burgin said the work is contracted to take place within a determined performance period. The start date and daily operating schedule are set by the contractor.

“The Corps is able to decide how long the contractor has to complete the nourishment, but it is up to the contractor to come up with a schedule that fits their capability,” she added. “This flexibility is essential for success of the project and allows for the contractor to balance the work at Sandbridge with their other jobs that require hopper dredging across the nation.”

This nourishment is possible through a contributed-funds agreement with Virginia Beach and is 100% nonfederal funds. The $20.3 million contract includes authorized placement of about 1.7 million cubic yards of sand.

Each nourishment can vary and depends on the beach’s current condition at the start of the cycle. The current cycle is 5-7 years, depending on funds availability and beach condition.

The initial fill occurred in 2003, with renourishments in 2007 and 2013. Beaches are natural sacrificial barriers designed to absorb wave energy during coastal storms and naturally erode away over time, requiring maintenance.

The community should avoid construction equipment, the pipeline – beached and submerged – and the active work zone. Safety officials will be posted at either end of work areas.

Ramps are slated to be built by the contractor for crossing over the pipeline. Beached pipeline can extend multiple yards along the shoreline during the project.

Questions about this project can be forwarded to the Norfolk District Public Affairs Office at DLL-CENAO-PA@usace.army.mil. To track the progress, view the near-real time tracker here.