Virginia Beach, VA - Work crews have been on the move this month, building a better beach in Sandbridge.
Strong waves from coastal storms, like Hurricane Sandy, have eroded away the beach over time. But with the help of a hopper dredge offshore and a network of pipes, about two million cubic yards of sand will be restored on a 5-mile stretch of the beach, from the Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge to the Dam Neck Naval Facility.
"I remember before they do the replenishment, the tide can wash up very close to the house," said Jessica Tierney. She and her twin sister, Christina Ashcraft, know how high the water can get when coastal storms move through here.
"When the sand washes away, a storm, really high tide, it can get up. Storms, it can go all the way to the bay," said Ashcraft.
Right now, the replenishment work is just steps away from their house - work that should help guard their home and others up and down the beach, for now.
Coastal storms have eaten away at the beach so much that there's a distinct sharp edge to the sand in places. But once the replenishment project is complete, the beach will be a lot bigger.
Dredge work began earlier this month, and once this $15.35 million project is finished by Memorial Day, the beach will extend about 40 to 50 feet from the dune.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the Sandbridge Beach Replenishment project contract to Weeks Marine of Camden, N.J.