The beaches near Shinnecock Inlet, badly hit by superstorm Sandy, will be replenished with sand dredged from the inlet, federal and state officials announced Friday.
The beaches were already slated to have 128,000 cubic yards of sand added to fix damage from Tropical Storm Irene. To recover from Sandy, the beaches will get an additional 115,000 cubic yards in the area of Tiana Beach in Meschutt Beach County Park in Hampton Bays.
Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) said he'll work to get another 113,000 cubic yards of sand to address beach erosion, using funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies program.
He said Sandy made a "bad situation . . . even worse."
"I have requested that the Army Corps seek an expansion of the existing contract with the dredging company to deliver more sand while the dredge is operating in the area," Bishop said in a news release.
On Tuesday, a cutter-head dredge closed a 1,500-foot-wide breach in the barrier island near Cupsogue County Park by pumping in 200,000 cubic yards of sand from Moriches Inlet, said Chris Gardner, spokesman for the Army Corps in New York.
"They worked 24 hours a day, and there were three crews," he said.
The pumping there started Sunday, he said, and repairing the breach quickly was crucial. It was a lesson learned from the nor'easters of 1992, when a Westhampton dune breach widened from under 300 feet to 2,500 feet because it took 10 months for work to start, Gardner said.
The dredging and beach restoration are expected to take about three weeks, if the weather cooperates. Bishop said the restoration will help local businesses and marinas that need access to the fishing port.
"The protection of the barrier beach west of the Shinnecock Inlet is critical to public safety and the economy of the East End of Long Island," Thiele said.