Pleasure Island beach nourishment to repair damage from hurricanes

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Additional federal funds secured to boost planned beach-building project in Carolina, Kure beaches

CAROLINA BEACH — The federal government will soon start a $18 million project to rebuild Pleasure Island’s beaches damaged by hurricanes Matthew and Florence, with Washington picking up most of the tab.

According to the Army Corps of Engineers, the contract includes the periodic nourishment scheduled for Carolina Beach and Kure Beach every three years, but “is unique because it also includes additional repairs to the shoreline for sand lost due to the passage of Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and Hurricane Florence in 2018.”

Jonathan Bingham, chief of programs at the corps’ Wilmington office, said the federal government will pay for about $14.2 million of the cost, with state and local governments picking up the remaining $3.8 million.

That federal cost includes roughly $3.4 million in additional federal funds, requiring no state or local match, for storm damage repair, Bingham said.

“The corps was fortunate to receive additional emergency funding to cover these repairs at 100 percent federal cost,” Jim Medlock, project manager with the corps, said in a statement. “This allows us to place more sand on the shoreline while reducing the amount of non-Federal funding required to accomplish the overall contract scope.”

“We’re very pleased to get these additional federal funds,” said Layton Bedsole, shore protection coordinator for New Hanover County.

New Hanover helps fund the local share of beach nourishment projects with room-tax revenue, which is generated via an additional tax on hotel and short-term reservations in the county.

Carolina Beach Mayor Joe Benson said the additional money will help replenish sand that was lost from the hurricanes that wouldn’t have been part of a scheduled beach nourishment maintenance project.

“I think it’s great,” he said Tuesday.

No timeline has been set for construction to begin, but the project — the contract was awarded to Weeks Marine of Cranford, New Jersey — must be finished by April before turtle nesting season.

Reporter Tim Buckland can be reached at 910-343-2217 or