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Three towns working to fix beaches damaged by Hurricane Florence

Emerald Isle council members voted Tuesday to fund $13 million of an anticipated $20 million beach nourishment project. (Greg Payne, NewsChannel 12 photo)

Shortly after Emerald Isle Beach got some incredible news by being named best beach in our state, Hurricane Florence ruined all of that. Literally.

Officials are now trying to make the beach look the way it was before Florence blew through on Sept. 13-15. The major beach erosion is the reason Emerald Isle commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of a $20 million nourishment project which will restore the sand on the beaches.

"The project will put about 600 cubit yards along the 33 miles of eastern Emerald Isle and again a dump truck holds about 12 cubic yards so that's a lot of cubic yards," said Greg Rudolph, Carteret County Shore Protection Manager.

It's a project Rudolph and interim town manager Randy Martin say is very important to do sooner rather than later.

"We want to go through the next hurricane season with our dunes compromised because if we do get another storm, we could see a property loss and things of that nature," Martin said. "So that there's definitely a catalyst to do the project now...and plus it's also good for the tourism and the beach season coming up."

Officials said the project will be funded by the county, state and Emerald Isle. But there won't be a tax hike since the town already has a sand tax. In order for the project to happen, Indian Beach and Salter Path have to approve the project. Emerald Isle will pay for $13 million while Salter Path and Indian Beach will fund the remaining $7 million. Salter Path has approved it while Indian Beach commissioners will vote on the project Wednesday night.

If approved, the project will start early February and will end April 30.

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