The Army Corps of Engineers is set to resume work on the second phase of a federally funded beach-protection project next month, after work was paused because of harsh weather and damaged equipment.
Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company LLC was awarded a $51 million contract last year to dredge and pump 4 million cubic yards of sand as part of the three-year project’s second phase of dune construction and sand replenishment. City officials said that 86 percent of the sand replenishment has been completed.
The dredging equipment was temporarily moved to Fire Island in December to do work on an unrelated project, officials explained, and is scheduled to return to Long Beach on March 10 to finish the sand replenishment. The work is expected to be completed before Memorial Day weekend.
The first phase of the $230 million project — the reconstruction of 15 jetties, or groins, along the beach — was completed last winter. The project, which encompasses Point Lookout and Lido Beach, began in Point Lookout in 2016. The jetties, dunes and sand replenishment are designed to protect seven of the nine miles of public shoreline between Jones Inlet and East Rockaway Inlet from a 100-year storm like Hurricane Sandy.
The completed project will feature 25-foot-wide, 14-foot-high dunes running parallel to the boardwalk, and 14 dune crossovers in Long Beach. While most of the crossovers will be 10 feet wide, four of them — at New York Avenue and National, Riverside and Neptune boulevards — will be 30 feet wide. The larger ones are being built with ipe wood, like the boardwalk. City officials said that the Riverside Boulevard crossover was completed before the Long Beach Polar Bears Super Bowl Splash on Feb. 3.
The Army Corps plans to begin work on the rest of the crossovers on April 1, and continue through the summer, focusing first on those at the busiest beaches. New restrooms are planned for the New York Avenue and National Boulevard crossovers, and a lifeguard station at Riverside Boulevard. That work is expected to begin next year, officials said.
“Our focus will continue to be on what matters most — our infrastructure,” City Council Vice President Chumi Diamond said in a statement, “and with most of the sand replenishment complete, the project is already providing more protection than was there just two years ago.”
Officials also said that the city is building a restroom at the Minnesota Avenue crossover, and expects the work to be completed in eight to 10 weeks. Additionally, the Army Corps is replenishing the sand in front of Lido Towers and working in Point Lookout before the piping plovers return — environmental restrictions protect the threatened birds during their nesting season.
“The city is working very hard, balancing the completion of this important infrastructure project quickly with the real concerns of residents and businesses who want a minimal disturbance during our busy summer beach season,” Diamond added. “We will continue to work with the Army Corps and the community to make sure that this essential project continues with as little inconvenience as possible.”
City officials said that 70 percent of the dune plantings are done, and that workers would return this fall to do more planting in the dunes. With the exception of the restrooms and lifeguard station, city officials said they expect the entire project to be completed by next winter.