Two hopper dredges, the Ellis Island and Liberty Island, placed approximately 4 million cubic yards of sand on 10 miles of Nags Head's beach from the Bonnett Street public beach access at 2919 South Virginia Dare Trail (near Mile Post 11) south to the town line with the National Park Service (near Mile Post 21).
Hopper dredges use suction pipes to fill their "bellies" or hoppers with sand from an offshore area. The dredges then travel to a submerged offshore pipe and pump the sand from the hopper into the pipe and onto the pre-construction dry beach. A secondary pipe transports the sand in one direction (either north or south), and then in the other direction, completing approximately one to two mile-long sections as additional lengths of pipe area added. Bulldozers shape the new sand to meet project design specifications. As construction progresses, the pipes are subsequently broken down and moved further along the beach until the nourishment stations (i.e. beach sections) are completed. The closed construction area is then re-opened.
Project engineers use "stations" positioned along the beach to monitor construction progress and to verify in-place volumes of sand pumped on the beach by the dredging contractor.