MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Deepwater Ocean Outfall project at 4th Avenue North is delayed. City leaders expect the project could be finished by mid-to-late-May.
The project started in September 2014. Currently, all the work is being done off the shore in the ocean. So there is no immediate impact to anyone on the beach, other than an obstructed view.
Mark Kruea, the spokesman for the city of Myrtle Beach, said there are two contributing factors to the most recent delay. First, all the rain, storms, and flooding last year churned up the ocean and made it unsafe for the crews to work. Second, a piece of equipment being used was damaging a pipe and needed to be switched out.
"I think the contractor switched out some equipment to make the process a little bit easier," said Kruea. "In the scheme of things, they're installing twin 84-inch concrete pipes below the surface of the sea, which is a fairly complicated process."
A crew worker for the contractor said there is at least 700 more feet of pipe to lay before the project is done. Once the $10.3 million project is complete, city leaders do not expect major maintenance costs in the future.
"There are some landward debris traps for example that we will clean on a regular basis," said Kruea. "The project itself should be fine out there in the ocean. We'll certainly check on it periodically to make sure that it is. But it's a big enough construction project that it's not going to go anywhere."
Kruea said the city spent upwards of $50 to $100 million over the past 20 years on stormwater management. This is the fourth outfall project the city is working on and is a part of the city's long-term plan. This project will eliminate the drain pipes on the beach from 1st to 9th Avenues North. Instead, 87 acres worth of stormwater runoff will be funneled in two massive pipes under the beach and out into the ocean.