Surfside Beach, along with other beach communities comprising the Grand Strand of South Carolina, suffered beach erosion and other lasting impacts from Hurricanes Joaquin (2015) and Matthew (2016). In order to restore our beach’s wide shoreline and its pristine conditions, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) announced on July 5 it would begin a beach renourishment project in July 2017, possibly starting as early as July 15.
This renourishment project will not only provide additional beach width for the benefit of residents and visitors, but during storm events, the new sand will offer critical protection for structures and infrastructure landward of the beach. In addition, a healthy beach provides nesting areas for species such as sea turtles and shorebirds.
Another positive we’ve heard from other areas which have undergone a beach renourishment program is the shell hunting afterwards is tremendous as previously buried shells are uncovered in the dredging process. We’re told serious shell hunters will come from long distances to collect seashells!
While no one likes the timing of the project, it is important to complete it before moving into the heart of hurricane season when storms could further damage and erode our beaches. Also, the equipment used in this project is needed in other locations during the winter months to keep shipping lanes open.
What is going to happen?
The work will begin near the Surfside Beach pier after July 15 and move north towards Myrtle Beach State Park. That work is expected to take 25 to 35 days barring any significant weather delays.
After that section is complete, sand renourishment will move south from the pier toward the southern project boundary in Georgetown County (Garden City Beach) where work will last for 30 to 35 days and be completed by mid September.
The Corps will be placing approximately 800,000 cubic yards of material on approximately 7.5 miles of Garden City and Surfside beaches.
The contractor works 24 hours a day, seven days a week during construction, usually completing up to 500 feet per day. This means that active construction moves quickly and will only be in front of any particular building or area for two or three days, per the Corps.
During active construction, the majority of beaches will remain open and available for the public to enjoy.
The fenced off area is usually about 1,000 feet long, so it should be easy to go around the active construction area. Surfside Beach has 36 beach access points along its 2-mile stretch of beaches, approximately every block. If one beach access point is closed, visitors will need to walk or ride their golf cart to the next open access point.
Pipelines running along the beach outside of the fenced area can safely be crossed where the contractor places crossover sand ramps over the pipes. The public should keep away from lines and only cross them at the sand crossovers, according to Surfside Beach town officials.
What does this mean for you as a vacationer at Surfside Beach?
We at Noble Beach Homes will monitor the project closely and will promptly address any issues or concerns which arise as a result of this effort. Our maintenance supervisor lives at Surfside Beach and he will provide daily reports on how this is affecting beach visitors and our guests.
We hope it will have little to no impact on anyone’s visit, except perhaps the inconvenience of using a different beach access point for a day or two.
For reference, The Flamingo and Taylor Made II are located north of the SSB Pier, at 13th Ave N and 14th Ave N, respectively. The beach renourishment project is moving north in its first phase and provided it starts on July 15 and there are no weather delays or other hindrances to its progress, it should reach that section of the beach in late July/early August.
Annie’s Getaway and Abe’s Corner are located south of the SSB Pier, at 8th Ave S and 12th Ave S, respectively. It would probably reach that section of the beach in late August/early September.
All that is just an estimate at this point, of course.
You can follow the progress of this project from the Town of Surfside Beach’s website: SSB Renourishment Project
We’ll continue to update this blog as the renourishment project progresses!