Delayed but still on the horizon, beach nourishment will be a part of the Outer Banks future.
Participants in an Intralocal Agreement between Dare County and the towns of Duck, Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills had hoped to begin nourishing local beaches this summer. However, when the bids were opened, they were about 20% higher than expected.
Officials working with the program felt that at least some of cost overrun was attributable to scheduling conflicts from the dredge companies. The major component of the cost of beach nourishment is dredging sand from the sea floor and pumping it to the beach.
There is currently considerable dredging activity on the Mississippi River —at least one of the companies asked for an extension because of scheduling concerns. The hope is that without the prospect of a sure job in other places, the bids will come in closer to the estimate.
There are still concerns though. The town of Kitty Hawk held a special Town Council meeting to vote on whether to continue in the intralocal agreement. By a vote of 4-1 the council agreed to remain a part of the process. The mayor, Gary Perry, voted against continuing.
According to a written statement from Perry, there are still almost 40 unsigned easements from property owners. Without the easements, the town will have to take legal action to provide a limited condemnation of properties that would allow workers access to the beach.
Perry cited worries about legal costs and cost overruns of the project in voting to opt out.
County and town officials are hoping for a fall start to the nourishment process, although spring of 2017 seems more likely.