NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, NC (NEWS RELEASE) -– The Town of North Topsail Beach has successfully completed its New River Inlet Channel Realignment Project. This effort benefits commercial and recreational boaters and the residents of the Town who reside at its north end. Approximately 566,244 cubic yards of sand was dredged from the channel increasing its depth to 17 feet and its width to 500 feet. The sand removed from the channel was used to rebuild 1.5 miles of the beach on the north end of Topsail Island. Prior to the project, shoaling of the narrow and shallow draft inlet was a constant problem for boat navigation and the location of the inlet channel resulted in serious erosion problems for the adjacent beach and oceanfront properties. The attached photos illustrate the problem and the improvement that has been made with the completion of work.
According to Robert Neal of Coastal Planning and Engineering (CP&E), the firm which designed the project, the intent of the project design is to provide wave and current protection to the north end of North Topsail Beach and the sand placed on the beach will provide erosion mitigation. “The initial realignment was a successful venture that came not a moment too soon. The erosion protection is evident for the structures severely threatened prior to construction. I’m also confident future performance will show additional recreational and erosion mitigation benefits created by realigning the channel, said Neal.”
“Curbing the loss of our beach is critical to our future,” said Mayor Daniel Tuman. “Wide sandy beaches are our best asset. Not only do they afford our residents and visitors with recreation and access to the ocean, they also protect our properties from storm damage. Economically, they attract visitors from all over the country and globe. They spend money here and help our local and state economy.”
“The experience of Hurricane Sandy is well documented,” Tuman added. “Beaches that are nourished save money for the Federal and State government and avoid the stress and misery associated with the destruction of private property and public infrastructure. A State shoreline protection program is wise public policy and is needed in North Carolina.”
The New River Inlet Channel Realignment project was the first phase of a five phase plan proposed by CP&E that will bring the Town into compliance with FEMA’s requirements for an engineered beach. The Town will now be eligible for federally funded beach restoration caused by major storm events. The work was completed by Marinex Construction. Theirs was the lowest bid at $5.6 million, which is below the $6.5 million estimated cost for the project.
The project was financed from the Town’s existing beach fund and the rest from special obligation bonds. The Town is currently working on a plan to complete the remainder of the project phases and is considering the recommendations made by Peter A. Ravella Consulting, a beach financing consulting firm. The Town will continue to pursue financial support from the State and Onslow County to complete the remaining work, both whom directly benefit from this activity. The Town received no outside funding for the completion of this project.