Bulldozers and pipes are among the visitors to the Grand Strand this summer. But just as other visitors on the beach, their time in one spot won’t last long. They will move quickly to different areas of Garden City and Surfside and North Myrtle Beaches. There is one big difference though, these visitors are not there to relax and enjoy the ocean, but rather to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to protect the people and property behind the dunes from erosion. These visitors are part of the Corps of Engineers’ storm damage reduction project.
"The project began at the end of July near the pier in Surfside Beach and is expected to place 800,000 cubic yards, the equivalent of 80,000 dump trucks, of sand on the shore," said Wes Wilson, project manager. "After this area is complete, North Myrtle Beach will receive 400,000 cubic yards, or 40,000 dump trucks, of sand."
Great Lakes Dock and Dredge was awarded the $26.3 million contract to complete this work. The project is funded through federal emergency rehabilitation funds through Hurricane Matthew as well as cost-shared funding appropriated through Congress and cost-shared with the non-federal sponsors, Horry County and North Myrtle Beach.
"The District is aware that the project is happening during the busy summer season and it will cause some temporary inconveniences to people using these stretches of the beach for recreation," said Wilson. "However, beginning construction now enables the major, long-term benefits of protecting the infrastructure behind the dunes from storm damage to be realized as soon as possible."
Some of the renourishment will be completed on stretches of the beach before the height of hurricane season. It is evident that beaches that have been nourished fare far better in a hurricane than areas that have not.
The construction moves quickly and will only be in front of any particular building or area for two or three days. The active area, usually about 1,000 feet, is fenced off but it is easy to go around. Pipelines running along the beach outside of the fenced area can be safely crossed by using the crossover sand ramps over the pipes.
Garden City and Surfside should be complete by mid- September and then the work will begin on North Myrtle Beach and be complete in the middle of November. Myrtle Beach will be receiving sand in 2018.
Don’t miss the other welcome visitors that accompany this project-cool shells from three miles offshore that are pumped onto the beach along with the sand. Many people also enjoy watching the construction activity as this interesting process only occurs every 8-10 years.
The public can track the progress of the project in real time on the Charleston District’s website at