FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) – Tourists and beachgoers have been replaced by bulldozers on the Edge of America. They shoveled sand on the flat shore of Folly Beach's east end Monday as the sun dropped below the horizon.
Workers contracted by Charleston County Park and Recreation have been on the beach since Wednesday. They are replacing the sand dunes washed away by Hurricane Irene last month. Moreover, work can only take place during certain times in the day.
"The only time that they're able to actually do this work is every time there's a tide change. A couple of hours on the front of the tide and a couple of hours on the back of low tide," said Montague.
The dunes act as protection from the rising tide, so without them much of the county park is under sand, including the parking lots. Parts of the building's walkways have also washed away.
Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin signed an emergency order, which grants the county permission from Department of Health & Environmental Control's (DHEC) Ocean & Coastal Resource Management (OCRM) agency to move the sand.
"The emergency order allows Charleston County Parks to put sand back underneath some buildings and actually put some stop gap measures in to try to keep the buildings from washing away," Mayor Goodwin said.
CCPR Assistant Director of Capital Projects Cynthia Montague says some of the sand is moved from parts of the beach, while other sand is being trucked in.
"There wasn't a lot of sand down there to move from point A to point B. So, they brought in what is beach compatible sand from other places in the state," said Mayor Goodwin.
Montague says there is still no cost estimate on the sand dune replacement because the contractors are paid hourly and the work is still underway. Park officials say it's also unclear when the park will re-open as the work continues.
Mayor Goodwin says the city will also continue to pursue a beach renourishment project to battle the ongoing erosion.
ABC News 4 reporter Valencia Wicker contributed to this report.