Southern Sussex County Beach Towns to Get Beach Replenishment - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Southern Sussex County Beach Towns to Get Beach Replenishment

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BETHANY BEACH, Del.- At long last, Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island are getting a multi-million dollar beach replenishment.

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District and DNREC's Tony Pratt announced the replenishment Monday morning. This project comes after one originally scheduled for this past year was delayed due to funding. Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island's mayors have said for months they were hoping to get funding this year, as their dunes were damaged from winter storms in 2016.

"Tourism is really important in Delaware and the beaches are the big part of tourism," says Bethany Beach Mayor Jack Gordon. "We are happy to contribute to that and we're happy that we're going to have the sand that brings the people."

Tony Pratt, administrator of DNREC's Shoreline and Waterway Management Section, said the project will include dredging and dune crossing work much like Rehoboth and Dewey just had. 

"People look at this as a one and done and it's not at all," he said. "It's like buying a car and having to replace the tires every 20,000 miles."

Pratt says ideally the work is done every three years, and by the time the southern beach towns' work starts, it will have been over four.

"We'll get ourselves back where we're supposed to be and therefore [be] completely storm resistant," he said.

Nathan Barcomb with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District says the project will cost between $15-22 million and they are currently in the design process. He says they've already pre-solicited the project to potential contractors, and plan to accept bids this summer and award them by the end of the season. Barcomb says construction should start in the fall of 2017, and that's partially due to the project's funding. One-hundred percent of the beach replenishment is paid for by the Flood Control & Coastal Emergencies program, from the fiscal year 2017 budget.

"This is one of our top priorities," said Barcomb. "Certainly there's a recreation aspect to the beaches but we're in it for the flood protection so we're protecting the houses and the people here."

Bethany Beach, South Bethany and Fenwick Island's mayors tell WBOC they're happy the work is taking place at no extra cost to Delaware taxpayers, and it will be done after the busy summer.

"We've all collectively worked together," said South Bethany Mayor Pat Voveris. "Today we got exactly what we were hoping to hear."

Officials tell WBOC the work should be completely done by next summer. 

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