(March 14, 2014) Beach improvement efforts for 2014 are now under way on both ends of the resort, with dredging having started earlier this month on the north end of town, as well as the quinquennial re-coating of the seawall along the Boardwalk.
“We schedule it every five years,” City Engineer Terry McGean said of the re-coating. “The seawall is part of the beach replenishment effort insofar as the re-coating is paid for out of the same fund.”
Both the Town of Ocean City and Worcester County regularly pay into a state-controlled fund, with all contributions matched by the state, to support maintenance of the city’s beaches and dune line.
This includes the seawall, which replaces the dunes in function south of 27th Street. While the dunes provide a buffer for sand being washed back out to sea during a storm, the seawall physically prevents erosion.
“The seawall itself is a steel sheet that’s driven 35 feet down into the sand,” McGean said. “The concrete you see along the Boardwalk is just a cap over the top of it.”
For the next several weeks, state contractors will be digging down roughly a foot into the sand on the east side of the wall to expose the cap, then sandblasting and re-coating it. On the east side, the 6-by-6 timbers which close the gap between the boards and the wall have been removed for access.
“The coating itself is actually an anti-graffiti coating,” McGean said. “It’s an extremely hard finish. It’s designed so that if you put graffiti on it, it’s easy to get off. Paint or ink won’t set in like it would on bare concrete.”
The coating itself, McGean said, won’t go on until the weather warms up.
Meanwhile, federal contractors under the supervision of the Army Corps of Engineers have started the dredging process, whereby sand from the ocean floor is pumped back onto the city’s artificially-widened beaches.
Beach replenishment began in 1988, after the city was able to purchase or secure public right-of-way to the resort’s existing dune line.
This year’s work on the seawall, as well as dredging, will likely continue through early May.