The Army Corps of Engineers is planning a $9 million beach-replenishment project this fall that will bring sand to beaches in Cape May, Lower Township and Cape May Point.
Corps spokesman Richard Pearsall said the project will mine 302,000 cubic yards of sand from a site more than five miles offshore. Because of the distance, a hopper dredge, instead of a hydraulic dredge, will be used to move the sand.
Connie Mahon, borough administrator for Cape May Point, said the sand will be mined far offshore to avoid possible munitions closer to the coast from the Army bunker, a World War II relic, on the beach in front of Cape May Point State Park. Munitions have been found before in the area, which is off-limits to bathing partly because of it.
“They don’t dredge where there might be munitions. The quality of the sand is also a determining factor,” Mahon said.
Pearsall said the corps will advertise for bids July 17. The timetable calls for opening bids in August, awarding a contract in September and beginning work in October or November. The project is slated for completion by March 1 to avoid conflicts with beach-nesting shorebirds.
The project includes 163,000 cubic yards of sand for The Cove area of Cape May, which runs from the Third Avenue jetty westward and includes beaches in front of The Nature Conservancy lands.
Another 102,000 cubic yards will go to beaches in front of Cape May Point State Park in Lower Township, and at the end of Lighthouse Avenue in Cape May Point. Mahon said the area off Lighthouse Avenue, just east of Saint Mary’s By the Sea Convent, is set to receive 91,800 cubic yards.
Saint Peter’s Beach in Cape May Point will get 37,000 cubic yards.
Pearsall said the corps will fund 80.5 percent of the project, or about $7.5 million.
The state and local towns will fund the other 19.5 percent. While the project hasn’t gone to bid yet, Mahon said the preliminary cost estimate for Cape May Point is about $222,000.
Cape May’s share is expected to be only about $62,000, but officials said that is partly because the city has some credits from payments made for previous beach projects.
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