Aerial view of the first 200' of beach in Duck that has been nourished.

The Dare County Beach Nourishment project has officially begun. The first 200’ of the Beach in Duck has been completed and the teams are moving south, placing sand on the beach in the construction zones.

The Duck part of the process should take about 45 days; as Duck winds down, equipment will move to Kitty Hawk followed by Kill Devil Hills. There is also a small section of Southern Shores beach that will be nourished in conjunction with the Kitty Hawk part of the project.

Initial signs are that it seems to be going well. The designer of the project, Coastal Planning and Engineering of North Carolina, and the contractor, Great Lakes Dredge Company, have considerable experience in beach nourishment, so the expectation is that the process will go smoothly.

Kitty Hawk, with its steadily narrowing beaches, will take the most time—74 days is the estimate, beginning in early July and ending in September.

The area that where crews are working is an active construction zone and should be avoided. The areas are clearly marked and should be avoided. However, efforts have been made to restrict the amount of beach that is under construction at any given point in time to minimize disruption.

After nourishment the beach will be significantly wider, but will narrow somewhat over time. That is by design. Some of the sand on the beach will form a sandbar that is the first line of defense against large waves.

Under any circumstances, beach nourishment is not a permanent solution to the encroachment of the ocean. Typically once every five to seven years the process has to be repeated. However, future projects tend to be significantly less expensive than the initial venture.

Nags Head will be replenishing their beach nourishment that was completed in 2011. That is a seven year window on the second go around.