VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) - Residents along the oceanfront are normally grateful for federally funded, beach replenishment projects. But some folks on the north end of Virginia Beach are a little unhappy about the timing of the work going on there right now.
The dredging operation pumping sand from the ocean floor onto the beach is running several weeks behind schedule.
The surf was louder than the dredging barge anchored off the beach at 47th Street Friday morning. But the problem isn't in the water, it's on the beach where George Desgain and his wife Corinne have been soaking up rays for more than 30 years.
"Well we haven't been down here in about three weeks, and I did not realize it until we came over the dunes there. I went, ‘someone has started playing with our playground here'...," said Desgain.
The sand replenishment project on the North end caught a lot of people by surprise, even the ones that live here.
"We weren't able to contact every waterfront property owner here, but in our view we think a few days of inconvenience is well worth having the next four years of security and storm protection," said Phillip Roehrs, a VB Water Resources Engineer.
The reason for the bad timing of the project was due to a the importance of another project that drew the dredging contractor away from the Oceanfront.
"There were circumstances beyond our control and beyond the contractor's control that caused him to have to move to another project in North Carolina, where they spent almost six weeks," said Roehrs.
The contractor was under contract in Virginia Beach, but he was also under contract with another district. The Army Corps of Engineers hired the dredging company with federal Funds.
"There's only a few companies that are still out there that can afford to continue to be in this business," said Herman Wine, project manager.
So the government is forced to conduct dredging operations up and down the coast with limited resources.
"The contractor was a little late getting here because of the extensive work they were doing up in North Carolina, and actually, right now they were scheduled to be somewhere else, but because of the work they're doing here, they start delaying a further project...," Wine said.
According to city officials, the work in North Carolina had what they call a "hard deadline" because it affected an endangered species of sea turtle.
The work in Virginia Beach is now expected to wrap up in the first week of August.
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