Just as the COVID-19 pandemic was shutting down much of the world in March 2020, CSE and contractor Marinex Construction (Charleston, SC) completed the Pawleys Island (SC) Beach Restoration Project. Pay surveys in April confirmed delivery of 1,132,420 cubic yards, making this the largest ever influx of new sand along the four-mile island.
The $14.1 million project was funded by the Town of Pawleys Island (~60%) and the state of South Carolina (~40%) and encompassed 16,200 linear feet over the south and central portions of the barrier island. Much of the project length included the construction of a protective dune.
Two offshore borrow areas situated ~8,000 and 12,000 feet southeast of Pawleys Inlet were excavated and pumped by the cutterhead dredge, Savannah, working south to north under state and federal permits. The project resulted in the burial of 23 groins, which had been prominent oceanfront features since their construction in the 1960s.
The southern mile of Pawleys Island is the narrowest developed barrier spit in South Carolina, with barely room for one row of houses and the access road. The nourishment project effectively doubled the width of the spit and provided a much-needed buffer and new dune to protect property. One year later (Summer 2021), the groins remain buried, and vegetation grows denser over the dune.
Ryan Fabbri, Town Manager, coordinated CSE’s work managed by CSE principal Steven Traynum. Dr. Haiqing Kaczkowski, PE was project engineer. Before construction, the project involved numerous administrative and funding revisions between 2016 and 2020 because it was initially planned as a mostly federal project. CSE utilized some of the planning work performed by the USACE-Charleston District and accelerated our standard design services when federal funding became problematic.
After only 18 months, the project’s performance is ahead of schedule, with volume losses totaling less than 5% of the placed volume.