Tybee Island, Ga. – (January 16, 2019) To repair damage to the dune system caused by Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, and to protect better against future storm surge on the island, the City of Tybee will be working before the summer season begins to enhance the sand dune defenses on the south end of the island. With approval of the project from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, sand will be trucked in and placed on the most landward side of the beach to enhance protection of Tybee’s commercial Strand area from direct water incursion during a hurricane.
Both Hurricanes Irma and Michael showed that the dune structures on Tybee provide an excellent barrier protection for points farther inland. Although rising waters did produce significant damage, the extent of that damage was reduced at least in part because little wave action reached past the dunes to cause further harm to businesses and homes.
The bulk of the project will begin immediately following the Critz Tybee Run, which will take place on the island between February 1st and 3rd.
Beach access ramps began to be removed on January 14th, at 17th Street. Next, the 18th Street crossover will be taken up, and finally the Tybrisa cross-over will be removed by the end of January. The beach will remain accessible from the Pavilion access or points further north or beyond the 19th Street ramp to the south. The beach itself, between the Pier and 19th, will have limited access and use due to the project activity. Work is expected from 7 AM until 7 PM, Monday through Saturday.
New access ramps, using garapa wood, similar to the newly installed crossovers at 14½ and Gulick Streets, will replace these cross-overs after the project completes. Tybrisa’s access should be restored in mid-March, while the 17th Street cross-over will be rebuilt in late March. The 18th Street ramp will have a mobility-mat in place which should be available in mid-March.
Due to existing issues from earlier king tides, 19th Street crossover is currently unusable. It will be fully in place by mid-April.
The Taylor Street crossover is closed now and will remain closed until the new Marine Science Center is completed, which is scheduled for late February, 2020.
Here is Mayor Buelterman's post on this project:
The City of Tybee has started to prepare for a dune-building project that will take place between 16th and 19th streets. The project will begin on Monday, February 4 and will conclude in early April. The goal is to build a more protective dune field so as to mitigate against damage from future tropical systems. During Matthew and Irma, water flowed through the gaps in our dune field causing flooding issues for homes and businesses. This is the first phase of a project that will ultimately fill in the many holes in the dune system on the front side of our Island. The next phase will be to close the gaps in our vehicular access points at 2nd Street and at Gullick St. The sand for these initial phases will be delivered in trucks from an inland sand source. We are working with the Army Corps on the remaining portion of the dune project especially areas where we have minimal dunes (near the anchor at the curve on Butler) to develop a means of using sand that will be pumped from an offshore borrow site for a beach renourishment project scheduled to take place in late 2019. High volumes of sand are needed in these areas Sand that is trucked in is much more expensive than sand that is pumped onto the beach from an off-shore dredge. Therefore, we are hoping to partner with the Corps for the high volume areas to save money.
The moneys for the initial phase of this project are coming from funds that the State approved of last year for Tybee. There is $5,000,000 in state funds designated for Tybee’s use specifically for our dune-building effort. I cannot thank enough our State Representative Jesse Petrea and our State Senator Ben Watson for working to secure these funds. Jesse had to fight off an effort by one of his fellow legislators from north Georgia who tried to remove these funds from the budget. Below is a link to a video Jesse put out last year about this issue. The bottom line is that without these funds, this project would not be happening. We have tremendous support from our elected officials in Atlanta and I cannot express in words just how appreciative I am for their efforts on Tybee’s behalf. Here is a link to Jesse’s floor speech he made to hold onto these funds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ez8O1rna63k
For this initial phase, the dune crossovers at 16th, 17th and 18th were removed. They will be reconstructed immediately after sand is placed in the dune field and will be built higher to allow for a higher dune field. The crossover at 18th will have a mobi-mat (the blue handicapped accessible beach mats) until such time as the renourishment is completed in late 2019. There is not enough beach left in front of the dunes to build a functional crossover at this time.
After the sand is placed, we will have plantings put on top to hold and build the dunes.
We also continue to work to get funds from a federal hazard mitigation grant to help those on the backside of the island whose homes flooded and are working on solutions to address the Back River and Savannah River sides of the Island.
The funds Ben and Jesse worked for will also pay for the dune crossovers and plantings. Pictured below is a photo of Tybee during Matthew. This is the fundamental problem we are trying to address.
Many thanks to our city council and staff for working so hard to make this happen. Our city council made this a top priority several years ago and have been working diligently on it ever since. Also thanks to the Tybee Beach Task Force and Georgia Department of Natural Resources for their work on this important project.