SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Beach renourishment is underway in Surfside Beach and crews are working around the clock to get the project complete.
Right now, the crew is in the process of setting up equipment and Mayor Bob Childs said they are expected to start getting sand back on the beach later this week.
The contractor expects to pump up to 500 feet of sand onto the beach each day, leading to 1,000-foot sections being closed off for two to three days each.
This project is starting near Second Avenue. From there, crews will work north toward the state park, come back to the Surfside Beach Pier, and then work south toward Georgetown.
The mayor said this is the only time the dredging company is available to do a project like this and that is why the project is taking place during tourist season. However, he doesn't expect the project to affect tourism at all.
"I think people understand we really don't have a choice. We lost our beach during Hurricane Matthew and this has got to be done. We lost our dunes, we lost our beach and I think anyone here will understand," Childs said.
The dredging company has not forgotten about the sea turtles either.
Members of S.C.U.T.E, a sea turtle organization, said the dredging company has been working around where there are sea turtle nests.
Two nests located at Garden City Beach have about 100 eggs in each of them right now. These are the only two that could potentially need relocating, but are expected to hatch before the dredging company makes its way down the beach.
The other nests have been relocated to the already-renourished areas located further south.
If a nest is laid in an area where dredging is taking place, all dredging will stop so the nest can be relocated. Terry Graham, co-coordinator in Garden City for S.C.U.T.E., said the dredging company has been very thoughtful in keeping the sea turtles safe.
"We developed a phone line of who would call who in the case that there was a turtle that came up on shore while they are dredging. So, they've gone to a far extent to protect our sea turtles and we appreciate that," Graham said.
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The dredging company will begin putting sand back on the beaches by the end of this week and officials tell me the full project is expected to be completed around the next two months.