Renourishment project could affect some local businesses

CHARLESTON, S.C. ( WCIV) -- It's a project that is critical for Folly Beach: the renourishment project helps provide protection against storm damage to people and property. It started in January, but won't be complete until the end of June, which could affect beach goers and some local businesses.

Wednesday was a warm, sunny day at the edge of America. Beach goers were relaxing in the sand and swimming in the water, but not far away crews were working to renourish the beach.

"The beach can be a little unattractive to look at, but it's just vital I think everyone has gotten use to it by now," said DJ Rich, a city councilman and owner of Planet Follywood. "They close a couple blocks at a time, so a couple beach accesses, parking areas are closed off but otherwise its very minimal impact."

Michael Ezelle makes a living on the beach. He is glad the project is in the works, but hopes it won't affect business too much or for too long.

"We operate on very tight margins. We work really hard," said Ezelle. "Last year to give you an example, the weather completely shut us down. We were off a good percent because of the weather. Now if you throw in something like this that shuts us down for two or three weeks and then we have another bad weather season, it could destroy us."

But David Warren, project manager with the U.S. Army Corps, says that this part of the project should move quickly.

"If we have good weather, we are going to go through those areas very quickly," said Warren. "I know it's going to be bad for a few weeks, but we will be done quick."

The project, which started at the east end of the beach for economic reasons, has taken a little longer than expected.

"It's a very complex operation with lots of big machinery. It's operating a very harsh environment so equipment has to be taken down for maintenance and repairs, so we have had some of those, but weather has been our biggest impact so far," said Warren.

But if all goes well, the project should be completely wrapped by the end of June leaving plenty of time for businesses to boom.

Projects like this usually lasts about eight years, but it depends on the presence of hurricanes or slow moving offshore systems that can cause damage quickly.

To track the progress of the beach renourishment project, click here.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off