List of contractors narrowed for Tybee re-nourishment project - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

List of contractors narrowed for Tybee re-nourishment project

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TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) -

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is narrowing down a list of contractors that will pump millions and millions of pounds of sand from offshore to the beach on Tybee Island.

The re-nourishment project has not been done in six years, and the city is being told it is going to cost between $17 million and $19 million, which is way up from the last time it was done, when it cost $10 million. However, more sand will be brought it, and the project will last 10 years instead of six.

So how will this four month long process of re-nourishing the beach work?

"There will be a dredge about a mill off the pier and then pipes running on the bottom of the ocean from there to Tybee, pumping out sand onto the shore and bulldozers will move it around," said Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman.

A similar project was done six years ago, and the city said the moment that project was over; they began planning for this one.  

"The state has come up with 30 percent of the cost, the city will handle 10 percent and the feds will take care of 60 percent," Buelterman said.

The shipping channel is the main cause of erosion on Tybee, and that is why the federal government is providing the most money.

"It is the cause of 78 percent of the erosion, and that is according to the federal government," said Buelterman. "So there is a documented impact on that federally controlled channel on our beach. So it makes sense that there should be mitigation for that."

But that is still not enough. The state stepped up in a big way and committed nearly $6 million for the project.

:When the federal money was jarred loose, we would have not been able to get this project done because we would not have had the local money to pay for it," Buelterman said. "So that state money was absolutely critical."

It may just be sand to most people, but to a city like Tybee, it could mean their livelihood.

"It is extremely important to our community," Buelterman said. "Number one, it protects us from storm surge, and number two, it provides economic development. People come to Tybee for the beach. They come and want a beach. If there is not a beach at high tide or something is wrong, they will stop coming."

They are hoping to have the project started in November and it will not affect beach going during that time.

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