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Corps details how north inlet project will affect park use

Main entrance to day lot and campground will be closed during duration of work
February 20, 2024

Story Location:
Indian River Inlet
Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971
United States

Long-awaited improvements to the north bulkhead and south jetty of the Indian River Inlet will begin this spring.

During a Feb. 15 virtual meeting, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives provided more detail on how the project will affect state park operations during construction.

Bill Nash, the Army Corps project engineer, said mobilization for the north bulkhead is expected to begin in early April, with construction beginning mid-May. The south jetty work is expected to begin mid-October. It all has to be done by early April 2025, Nash said.

The work area for the bulkhead on the north side of the inlet runs from underneath the eastern edge of the bridge to the area where the bulkhead walkway widens to its maximum width.

To allow for staging, Nash said, the existing entrance and toll booth to the parking lot on the north side of the inlet will be closed; the exit at the north end of the parking lot will be widened and an entrance lane added; the public restroom facilities will be closed, with temporary bathroom facilities installed; and a temporary entrance to the campground on the north side will be added near the existing playground.

The Army Corps will keep open as much of the walkway along the north side of the inlet as possible, said Nash.

Monica Chasten, the Army Corps project manager, said the large concrete structure on the beach near the north jetty, which used to serve as a foundation for an old tower, will be removed. It’s become a safety issue, she said.

Chasten said the Coast Guard will be notified about the future work, but she doesn’t expect any navigational issues during construction.

The contract also calls for sand tightening a 215-foot section of the south jetty. This work will comprise installing steel sheet piling to reduce the amount of sand migrating into the inlet.

Work on the south jetty won’t begin until October. Chasten said that portion of the project will be much easier to complete than either of the projects on the north side.

During the meeting, several questions and comments were made about repairing the jetty on the north side of the inlet. Chasten said that work won’t take place at this time because more information is needed.

“It’s a very complex project,” she said.

More geotechnical samples are needed for the north jetty. Chasten said a drill rig is expected to arrive by the end of February to take those samples. It’s weather dependent, but those samples shouldn’t take more than a couple of weeks to collect, she said.

One person asked if there are plans to remove other large debris on the beach. Chasten said that extra work is not part of the Army Corps’ contract.

Jesse Hayden, the state’s Shoreline and Waterway Management Section administrator, said his staff is aware of ongoing issues with old infrastructure debris washing ashore and they’ll continue to work on it.

Steve Rochette, Army Corps spokesperson, said there will be an in-person meeting on the project scheduled in the future, but that date has not been set.

 

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