By: Jimmy Gray, Director of Government Affairs
The 60 miles of pristine beaches and white sand that make up the Grand Strand are our most important and treasured resource. As such, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and our local elected delegation, understand the importance of protecting and preserving our number one attraction. These beaches support our local economy and bring millions of tourists to the Grand Strand year-after-year. Our beaches also serve as a barrier to protect over $3.5 billion worth of oceanfront property and provide a habitat to sea turtles, shore birds and marine wildlife.
In May, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District, awarded a $34.8 million contract for the “Myrtle Beach Storm Damage Reduction Project.” The project will place approximately 1.4 million cubic yards of material on Myrtle, North Myrtle, Garden City and Surfside Beaches. Work will commence in August and is expected to be completed no later than December 2018. Details on starting location and order of construction have not yet been released.
As a former federal employee, I know just how difficult and complicated it is to secure funding from the federal government. After a busy hurricane season in 2017, which rocked the coast and other destinations far worse than the Grand Strand, we are grateful to receive this investment into our most important resource.
From North Myrtle Beach to Surfside Beach to Washington, DC, there are so many different officials that played a played a pivotal role in securing this investment for our region. Congressman Tom Rice, U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham, Tim Scott and their staffs secured this funding from the federal government. City leaders from the North Myrtle Beach City Council, Myrtle Beach City Council and Surfside Beach Town Council advocated for the funding and were critical in securing these precious dollars. Horry County Council and Horry County Government staff played a vital role in working with the Army Corps of Engineers on the plans and timeline. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Charleston District is on the front lines and working to address questions and concerns from area residents and visitors. And lastly, our elected delegation in Columbia from both the SC House and Senate are working in the budget process to secure state resources to protect the beaches.
Projects like this require buy-in and commitment from public officials at different levels of government working hand-in-glove. We’re fortunate to have an elected delegation that understands the importance of our beaches and is willing to play whatever role is needed to get the job done. The result is a $34.8 million investment to safeguard those white sand beaches.
The contractor performing the work will be working 24 hours a day, seven days a week during construction. You can expect them to complete about 500 feet per day. Active construction moves quickly and will only be in front of any building or area for two or three days. Pipelines running along the beach outside the fenced area can safely be crossed via sand ramps over the pipes. Make sure to keep away from the lines and only cross at the sand ramps.
The beaches will be open throughout the construction process. You’ll be able to see the construction taking place, which could prove to be an outstanding educational opportunity for parents to teach their children about the importance of natural resource preservation.
For information on the beach renourishment process, including a map with real-time process of construction, please go to visitmyrtlebeach.com/things-to-do/beaches/beach-renourishment/.