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April 19, 2013     Cape Gazette
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April 19, 2013

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4 FRIDAY, APRIL 19 - MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2013 NEWS Cape Gazette Manager: Work build a barrier to keep water out I of the area where the extension should be finished will be placed. The Rehoboth Avenue and in about 30 days Laurel Street pipes will be ex- tended 18 feet farther into the by Ryan Mavity ocean, while Delaware Avenue's will be extended 36 feet. Dooley said the Delaware Avenue pipe The U.S. Army Corps of Engi- will be longer because that pipe neers is racing against the clock lies deeper in the sand than the to finish three stormwater outfall others. pipe extensions before tourists "It just sits lower in the sand. arrive in Rehoboth Beach. It's going to get extended out Work on the Rehoboth Avenue farther so it won't be a problem stormwater outfall is underway; in the future no matter how wide Laurel Street and Delaware Av- we make the beach," he said. enue are still to come. Dooley said the old piles sup- The corps has no timetable for porting the outfall pipes will be finishing the work, but officials replaced. Rehoboth Avenue and are optimistic the job will be Laurel Street will have 30-inch finished before Memorial Day. pipes, while Delaware Avenue Project engineer Ron Dooley will have a 35-inch pipe, he said. said he hopes to finish within the Early April rainstorms delayed next 30 days., the work, and the protective The $800,000 project to ex- sheeting can only be installed tend stormwater outfall pipes is during low tide, Dooley said. designed to prevent sand from He said scheduling the work is clogging the outfalls during fu- up to the contractor; the corps ture beach replenishments. As contract gives a specified time an add-on, Rehoboth officials for work to be completed, and it authorized spending $200,000 is up to the contractor to meet on the Rehoboth Avenue pipe, the deadline. where sand had been naturally Dooley said as the spring eroding, to prevent future prob- weather has improved, construc- lems. tion crews have also had to deal Subcontractor Channell Con- with curious onlookers. struction, under the supervision "It's never good to have con- of the corps and primary con- struction equipment on the tractor Reilly Construction, beach when people want to come began work on the Rehoboth down and relax, but these repairs Avenue pipe by driving sheet have to be done. We'll do them pilings in the ocean to protect as quickly and efficiently as pos- workers from the waves. Dooley sible and then clear out of the said the workers will use sand to way," Dooley said. WORKERS FROM CONTRACTOR Channell Construction drive Avenue in Rehoboth Beach. The pilings are intended to protect onto the Rehoboth Avenue stormwater outfall pipe. PHOTO BY RON MACARTHUR protective sheet pilings into the waters off Rehoboth workers from wave action wJITle they put extensions Although Rehoboth Avenue When Rehoboth Beach was re- on standby to unclog the pipes was the first extension, Channell nourished in February 2012, five as necessary at low tide. Those has not yet determined which stormwater outfall pipes were are the streets where stormwater outfall will be next. Dooley said buried in sand. Sand in pipes on pipes are now being extended. Laurel Street's is not as far out Maryland and Virginia avenues Last year, clogging of the into the surf so it could be done eroded naturally, as engineers Delaware Avenue pipe caused next; the contractor is not re- had anticipated. The Rehoboth flooding, first, during a late Au- quired to work in any certain Avenue pipe eroded somewhat, gust storm that inundated the order, while Delaware Avenue and Lau- underground parking garage at Dooley said the crew is small, rel Street pipes did not erode as Brighton Suites Hotel and then only five to 10 people, but all have the corps expected, Throughout on Delaware Avenue during Hur- experience in this kind of work. 2012, the corps had an excavator ricane Sandy. DNREC: Beach replenishment is a ood investment Beach north of IR Inlet first to be repaired by Ryan Mavity No timeline has been set to repair the damage brought by Hurricane Sandy to Rehoboth Beach, but state and federal officials say all of the Cape Re- gion's famous beaches will be restored. Tony Pratt, administrator of the Department of Natural Res6urces and Environmental Control's Shoreline and Wa- terways Division, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in- tends to repair Rehoboth Beach a.nd other Delaware beaches to where they were before Hur- ricane Sandy. He said the corps has prepared contracts, but the project has not yet been put out for bid. The planned repairs will be 100 percent funded by the fed- eral government as part of the $50 million relief bill signed by President Barack Obama ]an. 29. Pratt said the first in line for repair is the beach area north of Indian River Inlet, which has not previously been nourished. In Rehoboth and Dewey Beach, the work will restore beach to pre-storm levels, using the same' template used during the Feburary 2012 beach replen- ishment, eight months before Sandy arrived. The corps has estimated that Rehoboth and Dewey lost a combined 270,000 cubic yards of sand during the storm, nearly a quarter of the 1,033,000 cubic yards of sand pumped onto Rehoboth and Dewey during the 2012 replen- ishment. Pratt said the dunes protect- ing Rehoboth's Boardwalk will not require significant resto- ration. The only area where Sandy's wa;ces topped the dunes was at the north end of the Boardwalk. Pratt said if the dune .had been lowered, the roots of the beach grass would have PHOTO BY RYAN MAVITY DNREC DIVISION OF Shoreline and Waterways administrator Tony Pratt speaks to members of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce about beach renourishment and its effect on local business. been exposed and the grass itself would be gone. Nearly all grass is still in place, he said; meaning the north-end dune is somewhat flatter, but it was not lowered. "I think we're in pretty good shape there," Pratt said. While DNREC would not have a financial role in the corps' beach restoration ef- forts, Pratt said the department would still monitor the project, because the state is usually a 35 percent partner in beach replen- ishment. At a talk to the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce at Kings Creek Country Club April 16, Pratt updated local businesspeople on the status of beach repair and discussed the importance of beach renourishment for business. "Beaches are the heart and soul of our businesses," he said. Pratt said in 2004, the summer before a major beach renourish- ment, Rehoboth had only 20 to 25 feet of dry sand. "What we know from eco- nomic analysis is people w.hq come from afar and want to spend their hard-earned dol- lars and precious free time at a beach community are going to want something a little more than 20 feet of dry sand,'' he said. In 2005, the state and federal" government widened the beach- es, including Fenwick Island, South Bethany, Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach and Rehoboth. Pratt said a 2007 DNREC study showed Rehoboth draws bn a potential visitor popula- tion, not including day visitors within 50 miles, of 4.7 million people. Visitors annually spent $665 million at the beach at the time of the stud n State and federal officials have spent $50 million to $60 million to widen the beaches since 2005. "It's staggering, the economic stimulus that comes," Pratt said. "It's a good investment. This is an important sector that needs to be protected." Pratt said DNREC estimated the economic losses over a five- year period if the beaches had not been renourished would have been $90 million, losing 271,000 visitors over that same period. He said the cost to local business profits was estimated at $6 million. Still, Pratt said, future federal funding is not a sure thing. He said if federal funding were to disappear, the beaches would gradually lose sand and eventu- ally go back to the way things were in 2004. Despite uncer- tainty over future funding, Pratt said the wider beaches did their job to protect shoreline devel- opment from Sandy. "At the end of the day, Re- hoboth had lights on; the streets were dry on the ocean side. We held tight on the ocean/except for a three-quarter mile segment north of Indian River Inlet. And that's realIy quite remarkable with a storm as intense as Sandy was," he said.