The resort beach is about to get a lot bigger, for the first time since 2002.
On Tuesday, the Army Corps of Engineers delivered good news to Virginia Beach. The corps included $6.8 million to replenish the Virginia Beach resort beach in its list of fiscal 2011 civil works projects. The corps previously allocated $2.2 million to the project. That brings the total federal allocation for the hurricane protection project to $9 million.
That was the final funding action that Virginia Beach needed to move ahead with the needed beach replenishment. The city has already allocated $5 million for its share of the project, The total cost will be about $14 million. Work probably will begin within a year.
“This is tremendous news, especially as we head into hurricane season,” said Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. “We’ve been waiting a long time to get this project going.”
Nine years have passed since Operation Big Beach, the last major replenishment project at the resort. That project put 4 million cubic yards of new sand on the resort beach, tripling the width of the strand to 300 feet and providing additional storm protection to $3 billion worth of homes and businesses from Rudee Inlet to Fort Story. Since then, northeasters and other storms have eroded the beach to the point where it now requires new sand. Until now, federal funding for this next round of replenishment has been uncertain.
The corps also has included funding for three more important shoreline projects in Virginia Beach:
Lynnhaven Inlet dredging -- $287,990. This will allow periodic visits by an Army Corps dredge to keep the channel clear. This is critical to pilots stationed near the Lesner Bridge, who guide ships through Hampton Roads every day.
Rudee Inlet dredging -- $515,516. This will pay for periodic visits by the Army Corps dredge until the next major scheduled dredging in fiscal 2012.
Lynnhaven Inlet study - $50,000. This will partially fund a study to determine whether jetties should be built at Lynnhaven Inlet, to help maintain the channel there and to prevent sand from drifting off the nearby beaches. The study will start before the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.
Mayor Sessoms thanked the city’s entire congressional delegation in Washington for helping to secure the resort funding. He especially thanked U.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Jim Webb, who were critical in obtaining fiscal 2011 committee funding for the project, which made it eligible for consideration in this year’s funding. He also singled out U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, who made the project a top priority for his office and urged the assistant secretary of the Army Corps of Engineers to include funding for it.
For more information on these projects, contact Phillip J. Roehrs, the city’s water resources engineer, at (757) 385-8985 or PRoehrs@vbgov.com.