A newly constructed walkway was completed just before the start of the summer season in the town of Nags Head. The 130 ft. The pedestrian promenade now resides at the Admiral Street beach access, completed by Carolina Marine Structures, Inc. and Weather-Tek Construction and Restoration.
City engineer David Ryan explained that this particular project was not originally part of the work plan for last year’s capital improvement project. “It happened last fall,” he said. “There was a conflict between the pedestrian traffic and the crossing of vehicles at this location. Admiral Street at Nags Head is located at the northern end of town and serves as the main beach access point for pedestrians as well as a passage for off-season vehicles.
Seeing this as a major concern after hearing from the residents of Nags Head, the Council of Commissioners took swift action. “The board saw the problem and approved funds to build the crossover to minimize conflict,” Ryan said. The board of directors approved the project in the spring of this year.
The city put the project out to tender and received a bid from Carolina Marine Structures, who completed the job from start to finish within a month. The crews started on May 5th and ended at the very beginning of June. Matthew Murphy, director of operations for Carolina Marine Structures, said projects of this caliber can last anywhere from one month to six months.
Murphy explained that major complications with projects involving beach sediment are always possible. “You have to make sure you don’t disturb the main structure of the dune you are working on,” he noted. “It’s like walking a tightrope with equipment routing to and from the site and without disturbing the line of dunes or strategically planted vegetation. We need to keep all of this in mind while being environmentally conscious.
Carolina Marine Structures is a heavy civilian marine company specializing in marine construction. They undertake projects all along the coast, from South Carolina to Maryland. Their main area of interest stretches from Richmond, Virginia to the Outer Banks.
Typically, the company works hand in hand with CAMA, municipal engineers and municipal inspectors to ensure that regulations are followed. In order to safely maintain the condition of the existing dunes, walkways cannot be built by “bulldozing”. Murphy said it takes a lot of knowledge and years of experience to complete projects like the new Admiral Street walkover.
“It’s a bit like building Legos,” he began. “We have to create a stable foundation like a house, drive piles into the sand or the base of what we are working on, and then everything is built from there. Murphy said his team decided to use round stilts for this walk, as the shape would create a tighter, more stable base to build on.
Unlike other rural areas of the United States, the Outer Banks are unique in their coverage and lot composition. Murphy and his team repeatedly work with “flowing sand dunes” and must overcome the battle which is a moving foundation.
“The sand always moves according to hurricanes, northeast, different wind directions, flooding … taking all of this into account, we find the right depth of piles to install and in return, make sure that the structure is in place in the air is stable and has a longevity.
Working in tandem with the Town Engineer, Murphy and his team use their level and laser system along with town plans to create a level bridge structure, stairs, and railings. The finished product is only visible after four 5-day work weeks including 10-hour work days. The expertise for this project came not only from Carolina Marine Structures and the city engineer, but also from Weather-Tek Construction and Restoration.
“They [Weather-Tek] came up with a lot of expertise on the decking and framing, ”said Murphy. “We have combined our expertise in marine construction with their expertise in decking and framing to achieve this. “
“We have moved quickly and the construction has gone relatively smoothly for such a short period of time and a window given for the construction of this structure,” said Ryan.
Carolina Marine Structures has worked on several projects on the Outer Banks, including the Ramp 1 outfalls, the construction of the Wright Memorial Bridge, the addition of the Avalon Pier and much more.
Working in and around so much water means using specialized equipment, or “amphibious equipment”. “We create a lot of our own gear,” Murphy said. “We cannot go and buy our equipment from a supplier or a distributor. He also noted that the team is made up of a very diverse team of mechanics and welders who can modify the machines needed to do the job. Having the “right tools for the job” is imperative.
Ryan said the city is now considering upgrading the public baths on Epstein Street in Nags Head. “We are planning to do something similar to the refurbishment of the Bonnet Street public baths, where we had older facilities, used by many summer tourists as well as local residents. We’re trying to be a little proactive to see what we can do to replace the old facilities and refresh them. Ryan noted that the goal would be to incorporate as many different modern elements into the bathhouse as possible to improve the overall structure while adding to it.
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