Oak Island dredge work

Environmental regulators agreed last Friday to let a contractor continue putting sand on the eastern portion of Oak Island’s shore until midnight on Saturday, May 22, town officials announced.

The hopper dredge Dodge Island will continue pulling sand from Jay Bird Shoals and Great Lakes Dredge and Dock has until Wednesday, May 26, to get pipelines and heavy equipment off the beach.

The Ohio, the larger of the two dredges, shut down Monday, said Town Manager David Kelly. Great Lakes was more than two months behind on the $16-million job when it brought in the Dodge Island to help with the job. Dredging was originally scheduled to finish the first of May, when threatened and endangered sea turtles begin coming ashore to lay their nests. State and federal regulators have agreed to two extensions with the understanding that sea turtle experts will watch out for the reptiles all night and shut down the work if they spot any turtles.

As of press time, Kelly said the job was roughly 90-percent completed and he expected the contractor to finish the work - or at least bring sand within 200-300 feet of Middleton Avenue which is the contracted target.

The contractor must pay up to $4,000 a day for every day that the work goes unfinished, town officials said.

The biggest cost to the contractor would not be those agreed-to “liquidated damages:” it would be the cost to bring a dredge vessel and associated equipment to Oak Island for a second time in the winter of 2021-2022, which is called “mobilization costs.”

The work is creating a dune roughly seven feet tall and 10-feet wide to replace hurricane losses.

Kelly said town council would hold a special meeting to discuss sand on Thursday, May 27, at 10 a.m.

Beach-goers should stay clear of the work zone and cross the pipeline only at designated walkovers. It is important that visitors not attempt to cross the dunes except at spots marked with posts and ropes.

To learn more about the progress of the project, visit www.OakIslandNC.com/SAND.