Army Corps of Engineers officials said that dune and sand replenishment work in Long Beach has been paused because of rough weather and damaged equipment, and is set to resume in March.
“There is some dune work going on, but they’re not doing any pumping right now from the dredge,” said Department of Public Works Commissioner John Mirando, adding that the dredging equipment had been temporarily moved to Fire Island for another project, where it will be better protected from storms and harsh weather.
The $230 million beach protection project — which includes Point Lookout and Lido Beach — was originally slated to be completed last fall. Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company LLC was awarded a $51 million contract to dredge and pump 4 million cubic yards of sand as part of the project’s second phase of dune construction and sand replenishment. The corps completed the first phase — the reconstruction of 15 jetties, or groins, along the beach — last winter.
The jetties and dunes are designed to protect seven of the nine miles of public shoreline between Jones Inlet and East Rockaway Inlet — from the east end of Point Lookout to Nevada Avenue in Long Beach — from a 100-year storm like Hurricane Sandy. The project began in Point Lookout in 2016.
The plans also call for 25-foot-wide dunes running parallel to the boardwalk and rising to a height of 14 feet nearest the boardwalk. The dunes would connect with those already in place on Nickerson Beach and in the city’s West End. The project also includes 14 dune crossovers in Long Beach.
In the meantime, Army Corps workers are working on dune plantings. That work will continue through the summer, and is expected to be finished next winter, said Army Corps Public Affairs Specialist James D’Ambrosio, adding that no disruptions are anticipated during the summer construction. Mirando added that no beach closures are expected this season.
“Most of the summer work will be building crossovers, and creating temporary access to the beach with Mobi-Mats over the dunes,” Mirando explained. The sand replenishment is expected to be completed in the summer.
Army Corps officials said that overall, the sand-replenishment and dunes project is about 80 percent complete. About 300,000 cubic yards of sand still need to be added near the center of the boardwalk, between Washington and Magnolia boulevards.
Another 300,000 cubic yards of sand will be needed to build dunes and expand the beach in front of Lido Towers in Lido Beach, officials said, adding that crews would truck additional sand in to any low points on the beaches in Lido Beach and Point Lookout to even out the coastline.
Crews are also completing jetties and pile driving in Point Lookout, where the project is moving forward as planned, D’Am-brosio said. “The project is going quite well,” he added.
Army Corps officials said that Long Beach had already seen high tide and waves moving up the newly extended beaches, and that the dunes and sand are working as designed to help protect the boardwalk, beachfront buildings and homes from potential storm surges.
Long Beach City Council members allocated $300,000 to build four of the crossovers with the same ipe wood used to build the boardwalk, Mirando said, because they will see the most foot traffic.
“Four of the crossovers are 30 feet wide, so they’re more like extensions of the boardwalk,” he said. “So we wanted them to match the wood on the boardwalk, and that’s considered a betterment. Otherwise we would’ve used yellow pine.”