A project to renourish the beaches will help the city’s storm-damaged shoreline. By MADDY VITALEOcean City’s beaches will get a bit more sand — starting as soon as this week if the weather cooperates — with a replenishment project that will make up for erosion from recent storms and keep visitors coming back to the resort to enjoy its shoreline.The city will receive 505,000 cubic yards of new sand over 1.5 miles of beach with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project. The original estimate was 455,000 cubic yards.In Mayor Jay Gillian’s message to the community on Friday, Dec. 6, he detailed some of the recent developments in the project. In total, the project encompasses pumping in sand, repairing dunes and adding dune grass and fencing in Ocean City.The Army Corps of Engineers renourishment project also includes replenishing the beaches in Sea Isle City and Strathmere.Gillian said the work at the southern end of Ocean City could begin as early as Thursday, but there are variables at play.“The exact schedule is dependent on weather, equipment and other factors, but the contractor reported this week that work in Strathmere is ahead of schedule and could be complete by the end of the weekend,” Gillian explained in his message.Pipe has been laid from a dredge anchored off Corson’s Inlet to the beach between 58th and 59th streets as the project prepares to get underway. (Photo courtesy City of Ocean City)On Monday, Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen reiterated Gillian’s remarks about how weather plays an important role in the timeframe that the work will be done.“The marine forecast includes some pretty strong wind this week,” Bergen said.He added that officials are not certain about a Thursday start date.“We’ll know more after a project meeting on Thursday morning,” he said.Whether it is this Thursday, or on a date in the near future, what is certain is the plan calls for 50,000 cubic yards of additional sand.Ocean City Chief Financial Officer Frank Donato explained the increase in the volume of sand had to do with surveys.“The more recent pre-construction surveys revealed a need for more sand in both project areas, compared to the surveys from before the project was bid,” Donato said.Donato added that it was not unusual for the allotment of sand to increase, considering the coastal storms in between the time when the project went out to bid in the fall to now.Beach replenishment is critical for the shore’s tourism market.Gillian detailed in his message that the contractor reported last week that work in Strathmere was ahead of schedule and could be completed by the end of the weekend.“The contractor took advantage of calm seas last week to lay a pipeline from a dredge in from a dredge in Corson’s Inlet to the beach between 58th Street and 59th Street,” Gillian said.Work to rebuild beaches and dunes will begin at 59th Street. About 1,000 feet, or two blocks of beach at a time, will be closed to public access as the work moves progressively northward toward 45th Street.The project to deposit 505,000 cubic yards of sand is expected to be completed within 30 days, Gillian said.Work to rebuild beaches at the northern end of Ocean City remains on schedule to start around May 1, with mobilization of equipment in April, he said.“This program is essential in protecting property in Ocean City and across the entire coastline,” Gillian noted in his message.In September, Steve Rochette, public affairs officer for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Philadelphia District, provided the locations of the replenishment project for Ocean City, Strathmere and Sea Isle City.Ocean City is one of three towns that will be included in the project.In total, the project entails depositing 800,000 cubic yards of sand in north Ocean City from Seaview Road to 13th Street and the 505,000 cubic yards of sand in south Ocean City from 49th to 59th Streets.For southern Ocean City, Sea Isle and Strathmere, most of the work in the replenishment project involves widening the beach in front of the dunes.However, in some areas the Army Corps will be repairing dunes, repairing beach access points, installing sand fence and planting dune grass.The Great Egg Harbor Inlet to Townsends Inlet project stretches from 34th Street in Ocean City to Townsends Inlet in Sea Isle City. Work in the southern end of Ocean City, from 34th Street to Corson’s Inlet State Park, includes a federally constructed dune.There is also the Great Egg Harbor and Peck Beach project, which extends from Surf Road southwest to 34th Street in Ocean City and includes an elevated berm, referred to as the beach.City officials say the Army Corps of Engineers project to replace sand taken by coastal storms will keep the beaches appealing for throngs of beachgoers.