Photo by Peter Smith, USACE

NJ - Beach work complete in Avalon, set to start in Stone Harbor

AVALON — With hopes high for the summer tourist economy in 2023, the borough is going to have a wide, new beach for visitors to enjoy.Other communities will not be in as good a shape.

A federal project just added nearly 600,000 cubic yards of sand to Avalon beaches from Ninth Street to 27th Street.

The work now moves to Stone Harbor, which will also see its beaches rebuilt with sand from offshore shoals, pumped up by the dredge Texas.

Avalon officials added that the work was completed just weeks before the start of the hurricane season and the summer tourist season.

The federal rationale for funding beach replenishment projects is to protect lives and property from coastal storms. Having robust dunes and a wide beach helps reduce the impact of hurricanes, nor’easters and other storms, but the economic benefits of having a beach wide enough for miles of blankets and umbrellas are undeniable.

Early this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a $28.8 million contract with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Oak Brook, Illinois, to rebuild the beach and dunes of Stone Harbor and Avalon.

The contract called for 231,000 cubic yards of sand to be added to Avalon beaches, followed by another 464,000 cubic yards to be placed on Stone Harbor beaches from 90th Street to 123rd Street, with the costs to be shared among the municipal, federal and state governments.

“Beach fill projects are perfect illustrations on how federal, state and local governments can work together for the betterment of communities,” said Avalon Mayor Martin Pagliughi. “This project could not have been timed better and provides a protective and recreational beach in advance of the summer storm and tourism seasons.”

He said the community was grateful to the Army Corps and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection for completing the work before Memorial Day weekend and the June 1 start of hurricane season.

The project began April 17 and continued 24 hours a day, seven days a week until completion May 12. The only delay was a coastal storm that forced the dredge into safe harbor until rough seas subsided.

With the conclusion of the Avalon portion of the work, the pipes leading from the dredge to Stone Harbor will be submerged well off Avalon’s beaches, according to borough officials.

A booster pump for the Stone Harbor project will be visible off the Avalon beachfront near 31st Street.

According to Steve Rochette, a spokesperson for the Army Corps’ Philadelphia office, the Stone Harbor portion of the work will likely begin next week.

This year, Ocean City saw its 10th beach replenishment project along its Boardwalk, under a $21.5 million contract completed in February, with sand pumped in from the north end to 14th Street.

The rest of that barrier island is expected to gain sand as part of an additional project after the summer, with beaches in Strathmere and Sea Isle City also set to be replenished under a project expected to cost about $30 million, also divided among federal, state and local sources.

Sea Isle Mayor Leonard Desiderio told residents that most beaches are in good shape for the summer, with some local work undertaken to add sand south of 88th Street. Ocean City’s beaches appear to be fine for the summer, which leaves Upper Township, where the Strathmere section has again seen serious erosion.

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