The Wrightsville Beach strand’s beach renourishment project for the upcoming four-year cycle should be opened up to contractor bids as soon as October, said New Hanover County’s Shore Protection Coordinator Layton Bedsole.
“The budget is solid. I’m anticipating a very rigorous template,” Bedsole said, addressing the county Ports, Waterways and Beaches Commission on Sept. 12.
The template is the project design the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ultimately pursues in its renourishment project, taking into account the approved boundaries for the project, along with how much sand has been lost and how much sand the corps will be able to afford with its approximately $6.15 million project budget.
However, Bedsole agreed with Wrightsville Beach Mayor David Cignotti’s comment that the ultimate quantity of sand to be pumped onto the beach is far from certain.
“You can plan all you want, but until you open the bids, you don’t know what you’ve got,” Bedsole said. “It’s going to be interesting to see what we get, what the market brings this year with so much work up in the Sandy area.”
Bedsole explained in a July 16 interview that he is hoping to combine the renourishment projects for Wrightsville’s and Ocean Isle’s beaches. This would cut down on each community’s share of the cost required to mobilize the dredging barges and bring them into the area, which can cost millions of dollars. Also, a combined project proposal could be more attractive to a contractor also bidding on the many renourishment projects in the Northeast, where the storm damage from Hurricane Sandy last year is still being addressed.
With a completed template expected in the next two weeks, the corps could begin opening the contract up to bidders as soon as October when the federal government moves to a new fiscal year and 2013-2014 funds become available. The window for the selected contractor to conduct renourishment operations will stretch from Nov. 15 through March 31.
The commission also discussed the upcoming annual conference of the North Carolina Beach, Inlet and Waterway Association, to be held at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort on Nov. 18 and 19. The commission will be a sponsor of the conference, which will include presentations on policy issues including Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, proposed critical habitat designations for loggerhead sea turtles and offshore development of energy resources.