So Far, So Good for Erosion Control Project in Sandwich

cape cod genericSANDWICH – An erosion control project is underway in Sandwich to try to protect three homes on Bay Beach Lane.

The installation of the coir envelope or tube system in the area adjacent to Town Neck Beach is not complete but it has withstood two nor’easters so far this season, according to David Lager, president of Netco Construction Project Managers, which is installing the system.

“They’ve held up quite nicely,” he said.

Lager said he expects the work to be completed in early January. The homeowners are paying for the installation, which involves special large tubes of sand made of coconut fibers that allow water to seep in and soften the impact of waves. The cost is in the six figures, Lager said.

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Lager said the so-called toe anchor posts still need to be installed, which stop the envelopes from shifting seaward during a large storm.

“Over the years, they’ve experienced significant losses of the coastal dune and the losses were such that it was beginning to threaten three homes that are located relatively close to the top of the dune. The objective of the work is to try to slow down or bide time from future erosion along the coastal dune area,” he said.

The Sandwich Conservation Commission does not allow “hard” erosion control constructions, like seawalls made of rock, concrete, steel sheet piles or geotubes.

There have been a number of engineering and scientific studies, Lager said, showing that hard structures like those accelerate the rate of erosion those work by shifting the erosion further down the coastline.

The conservation commission does allow “soft” erosion controls like the ones being installed by Netco, he said.

“It won’t stop the beach erosion but hopefully will reduce it to such an effect that it buys time for a longer term solution,” he said.