Work underway to widen Outer Banks beaches with offshore sand

Frame grab from video of Duck beach renourishment project.
Frame grab from video of Duck beach renourishment project.

Work is underway to widen more than 11 miles of eroding beaches in Dare County, on the Outer Banks, by pumping offshore sand onto them.

Vacationers might encounter bulldozers and pipelines as sand is pumped ashore, but the county says they will have more beach to enjoy when work is done.

The first stages of a $38 million contract began May 23 in Duck and will continue through mid- to late July. It’s two weeks ahead of schedule in the initial stages, the Virginian-Pilot reports.

The Kill Devil Hills portion of the project will start in late June to early July and go through mid-August, according to an update last week, followed by Kitty Hawk and Southern Shores.

A separate $25 million beach-widening project in Buxton, in southern Dare County, is also beginning. It’s expected to last about three months.

Regular updates on the projects are posted on a Dare County website, morebeachtolove.com.

The county says frequent storms make offshore dredging dangerous in other seasons. Sand ramps will be placed over sand pipelines at each public access and then every 300 feet to allow beach access while sand is being pumped.

A portion of Dare County’s 6 percent occupancy tax is set aside to pay for beach-widening projects.

Beach widening has become common on the Outer Banks in recent years, totaling $121 million in a six-year period ending in December, the Virginian-Pilot reported in February.

Nags Head widened 10 miles of beach for $36 million in 2011. The state replenished 2 miles along N.C. 12 north of Rodanthe for $20.3 million in 2014.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender