CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) - The beaches of Pleasure Island will soon be a bit more plentiful thanks to an $18 million federal project.
“When Hurricane Florence came in, it changed the whole profile of the beach," Carolina Beach Mayor Joe Benson said. "Additional sound was lost and it delayed the bidding of the contract about a month.”
Benson said the Army Corp of Engineers was set to fund the project where the contract includes periodic nourishment every three years, but this project will also include additional repairs for sand lost after Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and Hurricane Florence last September.
Much of the damage to Carolina Beach after Florence occurred at the north end down Canal Drive where entire sand dunes were depleted.
“This project is much larger than the one in 2016," Benson said. "These projects are critically important to protect town infrastructure, public and private property, and the added benefit of drawing tourists and residents for recreational purposes.”
The Army Corps of Engineers project has the federal government picking up about $14 million of the cost, and state and local governments paying for the remainder.
Benson says timing is critical in this latest project.
“Turtle nesting season begins May 1, so right now we are anticipating that the contractor will survey the beach next week, then mobilization of equipment and then dredging to begin early to middle February,” Benson said.
According to Benson, if work is not complete by May 1, the contractor will have to get a waiver from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to continue work.