The Town of Hilton Head has committed to a massive beach renourishment project in 2016 in an effort to maintain this “vital asset” for the benefit of local residents and the Islands economy.1
According to the Town of Hilton Head, the planned renourishment project will include four principal parts:
- Placement of about 1.3 million cubic yards of sand along 5.5 miles of Atlantic Ocean shorefront from just South of Coligny Circle to The Folly tidal inlet at Singleton Beach,
- Placement of about 0.5 million cubic yards of sand along 7,000 feet of the Atlantic Ocean and Port Royal Sound shorelines in northern Port Royal Plantation,
- Placement of about 0.3 million cubic yards of sand along 5,000 feet of Atlantic Shorefront in southern Sea Pines near South Beach, and
- Placement of up to 60,000 cubic yards of sand along 2,400 feet of the Port Royal Sound shoreline north of Fish Haul Creek in the vicinity of the Fish Haul Park, Mitchelville Beach Park and The Spa of Port Royal.1
The project was scheduled to begin in early 2016 but has suffered delays due to weather off the coast of Florida. As the crane barges, tugboats and other necessary equipment make their way here from Texas, the Town was forced to revise the project start date to June 1, 2016.
This creates a number of concerns with the oncoming tourist season but also with the sea turtle nesting season (May 1st to Oct 31st), all of which are being well thought out and taken into consideration. The Island Packet reported that the Hilton Head Sea Turtle Protection Project will “station workers at the renourishment sites overnight to make sure turtles avoid the pipes running horizontal to the beach. If a turtle arrives to nest in the work area, operations must shut down until it lays its eggs, and the nest will then be relocated away from the work.”2
The timing of this project is anything but ideal but completely necessary for a plethora of reasons including the preservation of our towns’ tourist attraction, as well as local property values and our local resident’s year round enjoyment! As the old saying goes “Nothing worth having comes easy.” Seemingly, the town is being very strategic and taking all possible issues into consideration while making every effort to not only complete this project within the four to five month projection, but also do it in a way that won’t hurt local businesses or hinder the treasured Hilton head vacation experience.
So what do you need to know?
“The entire project construction is expected to last approximately 4 to 5 months. Because the project is extremely large, construction operations will proceed around the clock. On average, the filling process should move along the shoreline at a rate of about 200 to 300 feet per day. Because the active work area may spread out at least 1,000 feet or more along the beach, several days of work activity will occur seaward of any one piece of oceanfront property. Although the only noise typifying the construction process is that of the bulldozers shaping the sand as it is deposited, adjacent property owners, or renters, may experience short-term minor inconveniences. The construction activity effect to any one location on the island generally lasts for three or four days at a time as the renourishment operation moves past each property within the project limits. As the fill placement progresses, thousand-foot sections of the beach are closed temporarily to pedestrian access. Once placed and rough-graded, however, the new beach is immediately reopened to the public.”1
We all look forward to this project’s successful completion and the benefits it will bring to all; those who have the privilege to call Hilton Head home and those who choose to take their vacations on our Island year after year.
Sources: 1Town of Hilton Head Island Website http://www.hiltonheadislandsc.gov/projects/beachrenourish/2016beachrenourish/. 2Island Packet (Hilton Head beach project likely delayed until June) published March 14th, 2016, http://www.islandpacket.com/news/local/article66022552.html