After weeks of work, New Jersey-based contractor Weeks Marine appears to be nearing completion of beach replenishment in Rehoboth Beach.
Following a project update May 18, Steve Rochette, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District spokesperson, said Weeks Marine anticipated finishing Rehoboth Beach later the same day, then starting in Dewey Beach later that night. Dewey could be finished in late May or early June, he said.
Dewey Beach Mayor Bill Stevens acknowledged that beach replenishment in late May and early June isn’t ideal, but he said it needs to be done. Last year’s Mother’s Day storm really left the town without much of a beach, he said.
“Everyone is just going to have to be patient and flexible,” said Stevens, during a Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce meeting May 17.
While the replenishment equipment may be leaving Rehoboth soon, there will still be construction taking place on the beach. As part of the replenishment project, repairs to the stormwater outfalls at Maryland and Virginia avenues are also occurring. Both were heavily damaged during the Mother’s Day storm last year.
During that same chamber meeting, Rehoboth Beach City Manager Christian Laurence said the contractor will continue working on the outfall repairs after the other equipment has left.
Rochette said the stormwater outfall work is estimated for completion in late May and early June.
The installation of new sand fencing, which was damaged during last year’s storm too, is also included in the contract. Rochette said there will be about 4,850 linear feet of fence installed in Rehoboth. That work won’t take place until Memorial Day weekend, he said.
It doesn’t appear there will be active beach replenishment over Memorial Day weekend. Rochette said Weeks plans to shut down Friday, May 26, and start back up the evening of Monday, May 29. Equipment will be consolidated to the greatest extent possible, he said.
Rochette said beach replenishment in Fenwick Island is ongoing and slated for completion in early to mid-June. The plan is for work to begin in Bethany and South Bethany in early June, with completion in late June, he said.
The cost of the contract for all five towns is about $24 million, split between the federal government and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control – 65% federal, 35% state. Beach replenishment, designed to reduce storm damage to infrastructure, has been done five times before – 2009, 2011, 2013, 2016 and 2019.