Margate flooding

'Margate Lake', flooding caused by the collection of rain in the area dug out by the dune project, reaches public and private bulkheads, leaving stagnant water up against the structures. Tuesday, August 8

ERIN GRUGAN / Staff Photographer

VENTNOR – The on again, off again beachfill and dune building project on Absecon Island is scheduled to begin in Ventnor as early as Saturday, Aug. 12, according to the Army Corps of Engineers’ newest project schedule.

Ventnor Mayor Beth Holtzman made the announcement on the city’s website Thursday afternoon.

A dredge moored off the coast will start pumping the sand needed to build a 100-foot-wide berm and dune to an elevation of 12.75 feet directly in front of the Ventnor boardwalk.

The project will resume at Jackson Avenue, Ventnor’s border with Atlantic City, and move downbeach before it meets up with a two-block section of dune previously built at the end of the boardwalk at Fredericksburg Avenue. The work should last three to four weeks, but could move more quickly, she said.

The projected had started at the southernmost portion of Ventnor in late June, when the Army Corps abruptly “flipped the pipe” and started working south in Margate on July 5. Army Corps officials said scheduled maintenance of one of two Weeks Marine hopper dredges working on the project was the reason for the change.

Thursday’s announcement came a week after an Atlantic County Superior Court Judge temporarily halted the project on Aug. 3 after “horrendous” ponding along a 10-block area in Margate riled residents and city officials filed for a temporary restraining order until the Army Corps and state Department of Environmental Protection could eliminate ponding and ensure the health and safety of residents, lifeguards and beachgoers.

The Army Corps subsequently filed in U.S. District Court to resume the project. Judge Renee Bumb modified Mendez’s restraining and ordered the project to continue with certain provisions, such as fencing the ponding area, pumping standing water as soon as possible and testing the water.

“The replenishment project should finish up in time for the fall and winter storm seasons, providing Ventnor with increased protection from coastal flooding,” Ventnor Commmissioner Lance Landgraf said.

“We understand the frustrations our community has expressed,” Holtzman said, “but we encourage our residents, visitors and business owners to focus on the long-term resiliency it will provide that will outlast the headaches we have endured.”

Landgraf said the revised schedule had nothing to do with the work stoppage in Margate.

He said the cutter dredge that was working in Atlantic City finished up earlier than expected and is now able to continue its way south to Ventnor. 

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