- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 12, 2003

VIRGINIA BEACH (AP) The beach at the south end of the Sandbridge resort community, where waves slap against bulkheads or run under houses perched on stilts, is getting a whole lot of new sand.
The rapidly eroding southern stretch of beach is the main focus of a $9.5 million sand-replenishment project that involves scooping 2 million cubic yards of sand from shoals off False Cape and pumping it through pipes onto the beach.
Two dredges began pumping sand Thursday morning, said Jay Bernas, the city's project manager on the job. When the project ends May 15, the beach from Little Island Park to Dam Neck is to be 170 feet wide to the midtide line.
Sandbridge got a new beach three years ago, when 1.1 million cubic yards of sand was added. Now, on the south end, all of it is gone.
Replenishing the sand is intended to provide hurricane protection and improve waterfront recreation for tourists and residents.
"Sandbridge is going to look great this summer," Mr. Bernas said. He noted that the city also plans to build two bathhouses at Little Island Park, with foot washes, outdoor showers, changing areas and restrooms.
"The sooner we get on with it, the better it will be," Dick Dunleavy, a longtime beachfront resident, said of the beach widening. "It's just another step to getting it the way nature wants it: a full beach with a gentle slope."
City officials say those southern beaches lose 300,000 cubic yards of sand every year. Much of it ends up on the north end of the community, drifting because of waves and currents.
Sixry-five percent of the cost comes from the federal government. The rest is paid for by a higher property tax, a rental surcharge and a separate tax on increased real estate assessments.

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