When last reported in December, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said beach replenishment along Delaware’s coastline was scheduled to begin sometime in March. With March just around the corner, officials say the project is expected to begin in Rehoboth the third week of next month.
Weeks Marine, the corps’ contractor, anticipates mobilizing to Rehoboth on or about March 20, said Steve Rochette, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District spokesperson. The start date is tentative and depends on weather, mechanical issues and progress on other projects, he said.
Rehoboth is expected to receive about 196,000 cubic yards of sand on the northern portion of the beach – from the city tennis courts on Surf Avenue south to the Bandstand. In Dewey, about 194,000 cubic yards of sand will be placed on the beach from Saulsbury Street south to Beach Avenue.
In both Rehoboth and Dewey, said Rochette, Weeks Marine will be making pipe landings in the middle of the work area, pumping north and then flipping and pumping south.
The contract with Weeks also calls for about 245,000 cubic yards in Bethany Beach, 287,000 cubic yards in South Bethany and 207,000 cubic yards in Fenwick Island. Rochette said the sequence of work will be north to south, starting in Rehoboth, then moving to Dewey, Bethany, South Bethany and finally Fenwick Island.
Weeks Marine has estimated dredging and pumping operations will take at least two weeks in each community. However, Rochette said, it could take longer, depending on shutdowns for weather and mechanical issues.
Weeks Marine will be using the BE Lindholm and RN Weeks hopper dredges for the Delaware coast contract, said Rochette.
The amount of sand in Rehoboth and Dewey is on par with the 410,000 cubic yards of sand pumped in 2019, but less than the 620,805 cubic yards in 2016.
The cost of the projects is split between the federal government and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control – 65% federal, 35% state. The project, designed to reduce storm damage to infrastructure, has been done five times before – 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2019.