VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Beach Oceanfront is getting some extra protection from Mother Nature. The city is teaming up with the federal government for a multi-million dollar project to boost the beach.
The $22 million plan involves replenishing the sand at the Oceanfront in order to fight erosion and to reduce storm damage from the upcoming hurricane season.
Along with beach goers, you can expect to see bulldozers on the shore starting in mid-June. That’s when crews will be working to replenish sand near the coastline and rebuilding berms to give the Oceanfront a continuous layer of defense during hurricane season.
“The project will ultimately benefit this area economically because it saved over $450 million in damages over the course of the project life, which is about 10 years,” said Kristin Mazur, the project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Crews will be working in sections of roughly 1,000-feet of the beach during the project, meaning portions of the beach will be off limits at times.
“The immediate area of about 500 to 1,000 feet will be cordoned off for safety of the public where the immediate pumping and spreading of sand will take place,” said Dan Adams, Coastal Program Manager for the City of Virginia Beach Public Works Department. “The immediate construction activity should not be in front of any point for more than say a day or a day and a half.”
This is the second time sand has been replenished at the Oceanfront since the hurricane and storm damage reduction system was originally completed in 2001.
“We know that based on the beach profiles, we could see areas of erosion that were definitely in need and we were concerned and that’s why the project has to happen now,” Mazur said.
We’re told signs will be up to let people know what’s going on. Crews will be working around the clock, but officials told 10 On Your Side the project shouldn’t have much of an impact on businesses and visitors.
“The project will go on 24/7. That’s just to limit the duration of the project mainly. The sound of the ocean will muddle that noise but there will be some perceptible noise while the project is underway,” Adams said.
Visitors we spoke to say they won’t mind.
“I think it should be done. This is too pretty, it’s too nice,” George Gounaris said. “You just wanna make it better, not make it worse. That’s for sure.”
City officials said they’ve been in touch with business owners and they’re also working on establishing a point of contact for visitors who have any concerns. Work is expected to last until the end of August.