Pawleys Island leaders to invest in millions of dollars worth of sand to widen beaches

Pawleys Island leaders to invest in millions of dollars worth of sand to widen beaches

PAWLEYS ISLAND, S.C. (WMBF) - Pawleys Island town leaders are figuring out a way to keep the island and the homes on it afloat.

Pawleys Island is a narrow barrier island. In some places, it’s no more than 150 to 200 feet wide, and the storms over the last few years have played a major role in the width of the island becoming less and less.

The town administrator, Ryan Fabbri, said they plan protect the island and the homes through the use of sand during a multi-million dollar beach renourishment project.

“At high tide, that water’s coming up and it’s going underneath the homes daily. What this project will do, once it’s done, at high tide instead of having maybe five to zero feet of dry sand in front of those homes at high tide there will be 100 to 100 plus,” Fabbri said.

In order to change the entire landscape of the island, town leaders are looking at two different plans. The first would require 850,000 cubic yards of sand and the second would be 1.1 million cubic yards of sand.

So how much would each of this cost?

“The large full project would be in the $14.5 to $15 million range, which would require us to borrow $2.5 to $2.6 million dollars," Fabbri said. "If we do the smaller project, the overall coast is going to be $12 to $12.5 million dollars and we’d only have to borrow $1.5 million.”

At Monday night’s meeting, town council members discussed which plan they should choose but did not make a final decision and decided to meet over the coming month to discuss all of the factors.

“The difference between the two projects are if we did the smaller project, in about two years we would already be in a position where we will need another renourishment. Where if we did the larger one it’ll be probably almost 10 years before it’d be necessary to do another renourishment," explained Fabbri.

The next town hall meeting is scheduled for September 9. Leaders are expected to reach a final decision on which project should be done during that meeting.

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