In case you’re wondering: Here’s what’s up with the city’s Beach Renourishment Project

Virginia Beach Oceanfront (Southside Daily file)
Virginia Beach Oceanfront (Southside Daily file)

VIRGINIA BEACH — The city’s hurricane reduction and storm management project, which involves the nourishment of the city’s eight beaches, is over 60 percent done.

In a presentation to City Council Tuesday, Phill Roehrs, water resource engineer with the city’s Public Works department, gave a brief update on the project.

“The state of our beaches is strong,” he told council members.

The city has partnered with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to get the project completed, he said.

The goal of beach nourishment is to maintain the current beach in a wide enough dimension to provide hurricane protection, Roehrs said.

“We’ve got a large population and a vibrant economy being threatened by the ocean,” he said.

‘Operation Big Beach’

Part of the process of tackling beach erosion started back in the summer of 2001 when the city began what officials have called Operation Big Beach.

From there the city conducted more phases of beach nourishment in 2013, and again in 2019.

The ongoing project will place 1.4 million cubic yards of sand mined from Thimble Shoals Channel and the Atlantic Ocean Channel, Roehrs said.

The project stretches from 15th Street to 70th Street and costs a total of $22.6 million of which the city is paying $7.9 million.

Since beginning the project the estimated savings from storm damage aversion is about $430 million, he said.

Croatan Beach

Another beach restoration the city is currently undergoing is the Croatan Beach project which started back in 2016 and will finish with a final phase of beach nourishment beginning in late fall 2019, Roehrs added.

He said 50,000 cubic yards of sand will be placed on the beach during the time frame.

Beach nourishment will be conducted as part of the Rudee Inlet Outer Deposition Basin dredging project that is being administered by the USACE.

The Sandbridge Beach Restoration Project

The Sandbridge Beach Restoration Project is undergoing its fifth cycle since starting in 1998 which will run from November 2019 to April 2020.

The cost of this fifth cycle of the project will be about $20.3 million.

To date the city has paid $55.8 million in costs for the Sandbridge Beach Restoration Project but has avoided approximately $100 million in damages since Hurricane Isabel, Roehrs said.

The Bay beaches

The beaches along the bay are also getting some attention during this project.

Cape Henry Beach, Ocean Park Beach and Chesapeake Beach are all undergoing nourishment as part of the 2019-2020 beach nourishment cycle.

“These projects are an important part of our resiliency efforts,” Roehrs said.

The programs are also easily alterable, he said, “as climate conditions warrant, we can simply raise our beaches with more sand.”

To learn more about the Virginia Beach Hurricane Protection and Storm Damage Reduction Project, click here.

For a map to view the status of the project, click here.