Skip to main content

Town of North Topsail Beach

North Carolina
Home  Board of Aldermen  Boards & Committees  Departments  Living Here  Playing Here  Doing Business Here  Shoreline Protection  CBRA  Flood Protection   
ICW New River Project
Proposed Projects
Phase 1 Project
Phase 5 Project
Educational Materials
North End Sand Bags
Dune Push 2017
ICW/New River Navigation Project


Historically, the Army Corps of Engineers has dredged the ICW and New River for navigation and has placed the beach compatible material on the north end of North Topsail Beach.  Over the last few years Federal funding has not been available to dredge as often as needed to keep the waterways open.  As far back as 2012, the Town of North Topsail Beach and Onslow County have been working with Coastal Planning & Engineering on obtaining permits to dredge this area.   Permits have been obtained.  Funding has also become available through the State of North Carolina's Shallow Draft Inlet Fund which had originally been a 50/50 cost share between the State and local governments.  Recently the State's share has increased to 67%.  The Town of North Topsail Beach and Onslow County are splitting the remaining 33% (16.5% each) through an interlocal agreement.  The estimated cost of this project is $2,450,000.

Project Description

1. The project is located in eastern Onslow County, NC approximately 15 miles south-southeast from the City of Jacksonville. The project consists of performing channel maintenance dredging along approximately 10,600 linear feet (approx. 2 miles) of existing navigation channels within the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW) in the vicinity of the New River, as well as in the channel within the New River extending from the AIWW to Jacksonville, the New River/AIWW Crossing and Cedar Bush Cut and placing the beach compatible material within a disposal area along the northern oceanfront shoreline at North Topsail Beach.

2. The channel maintenance operations will involve dredging within three (3) existing navigational channel areas that include: 1) approximately 5,100 ft. of the Channel to Jacksonville (Tangent 1 and 2) that extends north from the intersection with the AIWW toward Jacksonville, within the authorized 90-foot wide channel to a depth of -10 feet MLW, +1 foot of allowable overdredge with 3H:1V side slopes up to the existing grade down to the bottom of the channel, 2) The AIWW/New River Crossing and portions of Section II, Tangents I and J of the AIWW within the authorized 90-foot wide channel to a depth of -12 feet MLW, +2 feet of allowable overdredge with channel slopes up to existing grade at a 3H:1V, and 3) an approximate 2,600 ft. section of Cedar Bush Cut to connect the deep-water channel running along the western shoreline of Onslow Beach with the deep-water running along the eastern shoreline of North Topsail Beach maintaining a 90-foot wide channel, except for a 1,200-foot segment within Cedar Bush Cut that is authorized to a width of 140 feet. The Cedar Bush Cut section of the project will be dredged to a depth of -8 feet MLW, +2 feet of allowable overdredge with 3H:1V side slopes up to the existing grade.

3. The project will only place beach compatible material within the disposal area along the northern oceanfront section of North Topsail Beach.  Material obtained from the maintenance dredging will be transported from the dredge site to the disposal area via submerged or floating pipeline and will be placed within the beach disposal template that has a constructed berm width of 40 ft. at elevation +6.0 ft. NAVD88. A vertical tolerance of ±0.5 ft. shall be provided to the contractor to account for construction inaccuracies. No material will be placed on any sandbags or geotextile containers that are within the proposed disposal area.


Bid Documents

Summary of Differences Between Latest Bid Documents and Those Previously Advertised


Plan Drawings

Bid Tabulation


Data files from the Corps of the hydrographic surveys that were conducted in October 2015 of New River Inlet/Cedar Bush Cut and the AIWW and Channel to Jacksonville areas:

AIWW and Channel to Jacksonville Survey -

New River Inlet and Cedar Bush Cut Survey -

(also see Project Reports below)

5/13/2016 - LATEST NEWS-  The Town has been given permission from CAMA to build a crossover at Oyster Lane.  Construction will begin ASAP. CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLETE

UPDATED 4/25/16 AM - Dredging was completed on Friday, April 22, 2016 and demobilization has begun.  Pumping stopped at approximately 2318 New River Inlet Road  (about 200 feet south of Port Drive).  The total sand volume removed from the navigation channels should be 120,000 cubic yards.  DCM will be on site early this week to discuss a possible cross-over at Port Drive.  Here are a few photos taken on 4/22.

UPDATED 4/19/16 PM -

Yesterday morning at around 8:00 a.m. Cottrell finished dredging the portion of the channel that was originally authorized.  The Town authorized Cottrell to remove up to 15,000 additional cubic yards of sand from the channel and that information was relayed onto Cottrell and the dredge began pumping again last night around 9:00 p.m.  Here are a few photos taken at the project site yesterday (4/18). 

UPDATED 4/14/16 AM - 
The Board of Aldermen had a Special Meeting on 4/13/16 which included presentations by Coastal Planning and Engineering (CP&E) and Dr. William Cleary the Town's Scientific Advisor.  Because of the time sensitive nature of the ICW/New River Navigation project, the Board discussed the possibility of expending more Town funds to increase the amount of material to be removed from Cedar Bush Cut and asked the presenters for advice on this matter. 

CP&E indicated that any additional material would likely not make it to the Topsail Reef Condominium complex.  CP&E explained that the project is taking more sand than estimated to build to the construction template because surveys performed to prepare the bid documents differ from the current beach profile (more sand was lost from weather/erosion since the surveys).  CP&E explained that there would be navigational benefits from removing more material and some benefits from adding sand in the area (can prevent over topping of bags and flooding while the sand lasts there).  Town Staff confirmed that Onslow County was not interested in increasing its share of funds to this project (they are limited in what has been budgeted) but that the State would be able to increase its share (67%). 

CP&E is continuously working with the contractor to get further down the beach but with few options available they expect that the dredging will get through the Beach Club and may make it halfway between the Beach Club and the Topsail Reef.
A crossover was discussed and the likelihood of installing a crossover in the revetment area is not looking good.  Pilings for the structure would need to go further than the 4 feet CAMA allows and a variance may be needed to go further down.  The structure would also need to be constructed to take on wave action  at  high tide. 

Based on the information provided by CP&E and Dr. Cleary, a motion to authorize the Town Manager to expend more funds to get more material dredged from Cedar Bush Cut failed.

There was discussion about the inlet modeling data for the proposed 2016/2017 Ocean Bar project which included more long term solutions for the north end area.  Town Staff is working on the full minutes of the meeting and will be posting this information as soon as possible. 

UPDATED 4/6/2016 AM -
  We are currently in a spring tide phase and this month’s particular spring tides are higher and lower than normal (Super Moon, King Tide, etc.).  There was some overwash of the recently constructed berm this morning during high tide.  Nothing unexpected, but the contractor has informed the Town that they are going to break back a little (move discharge a little north) when they start pumping around 10:00 a.m. to build the most recently constructed section back up.  Given the fact that the higher/lower tide conditions will persist into the weekend, they want to make sure they have a sufficient platform to work on as they move down the beach.  They should have very low tides most of the daylight hours today to progress in the AIWW.

UPDATE 4/5/2016 AM - 

1.      The initial dredging of the proposed portion of the channel to Jacksonville was completed this past weekend.   The Engineer requested the dredger return to the area to remove material from a couple of areas in which the authorized channel was not completely dredged.  This work was completed Monday (4/4).  Dredging should begin in the AIWW today (4/5).  Current surveys indicate that approximately 40,000 cy of sand have been removed from the Channel to Jacksonville; however updated surveys are expected soon.  This will mean that approximately 49,000 cubic yards of the 86,000 cubic yards Cottrell has committed to dredge has been disposed on the shoreline.   

      National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) completed their consultation to modify the permit for the additional 2 feet in Cedar Bush Cut.  We expect the USACE to provide the federal permit modification by 4/5 or 4/6.  The existing contract commits the contractor to a total of approximately 86,000 cubic yards of sand before they leave for other commitments.  The Town and the Engineers are working with the contractor to negotiate terms to get as much material on the beach as the permits, budget, and time allows.


1.       UPDATE 3/29/2016 PM - Photos taken at the project site this morning.Click here

UPDATE 3/23/2016 AM
- Cottrell Contracting began pumping sand at approximately 6:30 p.m. on 3/22.  Please be advised that digging under, walking on or near the dredge pipe is not safe. Please pay attention to signage and instructions from the on-site crew.  Questions about the project can be directed to Carin Z. Faulkner, Asst. Town Manager at 910-328-1349 ext. 25 or  The Town will be posting project reports (below) as they are received. 

Media Release

UPDATE 3/22/2016 PM (4:15)
- Cottrell Contracting will begin pumping sand within the hour.  The public is advised to stay away from the dredge pipe especially as work begins.  It is a safety concern.  Please pay attention to signage and directions from the on-site crew. 

UPDATE 3/21/16 PM
- Cottrell Contracting has reported that they expect to begin pumping sand tomorrow afternoon (3/22/16).

UPDATE 3/18/16 AM
-Cottrell Contracting has reported that they expect to begin pumping sand this Sunday (3/20) or Monday (3/21).

UPDATE 3/11/16 PM
- Cottrell Contracting has begun mobilizing their equipment in around North Topsail Beach and the Dredge Marion has arrived.  They will be using a portion of the north end parking lot and do not expect to use all of it so it remains open at this time.  Should anything change, the public will be notified.  Pipeline will also be located within the permissible driving area near the inlet.  So far Cottrell plans to install a ramp so that vehicles can still use the area.  Please pay attention and abide by all signage in the area.  If any of this area needs to be closed, the public will also be notified.

UPDATE 3/1/2016 AM
- Cottrell Contracting has updated their project schedule.  Due to inclement weather in getting the Dredge Marion to their home office for routine maintenance, mobilization will be delayed to March 7th.  They expect to begin dredging around March 19th. 

Please also note that they will be dredging material as far south as they can with the material available.  Since the project is now starting further north the material may not go past the Topsail Reef condos. 

UPDATE 2/22/2016 PM
- Cottrell Contracting Corporation is expected to mobilize on February 29, 2016.  The pumping of material on the shoreline is expected to begin March 11th or 12th.  They will be using the Dredge Marion (see photo at bottom of page).  The project will take approximately 40 days to complete from mobilization to demobilization.  Equipment must be off of the beach by April 30th per the Town's contract.  A map of the project area is shown near the bottom of this page.

There was discussion at the pre-construction meeting (a staff-level meeting with Town Staff, regulators, and Cottrell) about where the contractor will start pumping sand.  Cottrell is concerned  that if they begin south of where the revetment starts, that the dredge pipe will not have enough  area and will be located too close to the sand bags and damage them.  They requested to start further north so that they can build a "pad" for their equipment to keep it out of the water during high tide.  The regulatory agencies agreed to this request. 

Cottrell is a very experienced dredging contractor.  Cottrell indicated that they have dredged this area approximately 15 times in the past (for the Army Corps of Engineers).  They also completed a recent project in Oak Island in which sand bags were located close to the disposal area.

The parking lot at the end of River Road may be closed during the project as it will be used as a staging area for the contractor.  More details on this will be provided as the contractor mobilizes equipment to this area. 

After the project is completed the Town will be pursuing the possibility of installing a crossover  north of the Topsail Reef.  The Town must get approval from the Division of Coastal Management first.  

5/13/2016 - LATEST NEWS-  The Town has been given permission from CAMA to build a crossover at Oyster Lane.  Construction will begin ASAP.

For the project area south of the Topsail Reef:  Sand ramps will be built at 300 foot intervals along the completed sections of beach for pedestrians and emergency vehicle traffic.  The material will be pumped as far south as possible using the material available (it may not make it to the southern boundary -- see project map below).

UPDATE 2/22/2016 AM
-The Board of Aldermen at their 2/5/2016 retreat advised Coastal Planning and Engineering to start placement of disposal material beginning in the area of Oyster Lane (then going south).  The reasoning behind this was that if the material is placed further north in the high erosion spot, the material would not last as long.  The material is expected (not guaranteed) to migrate north to the high erosion spot.

UPDATE 2/20/2016
- The contract (most docs of which are on the left side of this page) was executed this week.  A pre-construction meeting (for contractors, coastal Engineers, regulatory agencies and Town Staff) is scheduled for early next week.  More information about the project's timeline will be posted as it becomes available.

UPDATE 2/15/2016
-The Town will be finalizing its contract with Cottrell Contracting Corporation this week.  As of now, the contractors are expected to begin work February 23 or 24.


The Town will be saving regular reports on the progress of the project in this location.
Reports will be added to this location as they are received by Town Staff.

Questions about the project can be mailed to Carin Faulkner, Asst. Town Manager/Town Clerk at  Or you can call (910) 328-1349 ext. 25 (8-5 M-F).

Project area shown below. 
Material will be placed on the shoreline as far south as possible with the material that is available in the permitted portions of the ICW & New River (aerial is not current).

Dredge Marion - Cottrell Contracting Corporation