Willoughby Spit coastal storm reduction project set to start

NORFOLK, Va. - A long vulnerable stretch of shoreline on the Chesapeake Bay in Norfolk is set to be fortified through a major coastal storm reduction project.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District says the project impacts 7.3 miles of the shore from the tip of Willoughby Spit near the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel to the federal navigation project at Little Creek Inlet.

It is considered the largest single storm damage reduction project in Norfolk and will include places 1.2 million cubic yards of sand along the shore, widening the beach to 60 feet and creating a slope to five feet above mean low water.

A feasibility study for the project was done back in 1983 and a limited reevaluation report was completed in 2014 after Hurricane Sandy.

According to the Norfolk District, the 7.3 miles is largely residential and sits virtually unprotected. Receding shoreline continues to be a major problem.

The $34.5 million project is starting in January and is expected to be complete in May 2017.