Bids in; Long Beach to choose boardwalk contractor

An American flag flies from a destroyed section An American flag flies from a destroyed section of boardwalk in the city of Long Beach months after superstorm Sandy devastated the area. (Jan. 2, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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Long Beach is expected to select a company next week to rebuild its iconic boardwalk, destroyed by superstorm Sandy.

Thursday was the deadline to submit bids to rebuild the 2.2-mile boardwalk, a project expected to cost $40 million.

Long Beach officials declined Thursday to say how many proposals were submitted, but did say bids were still arriving in the afternoon. Rebuilding the boardwalk quickly is critical to the city's economy, city councilman John McLaughlin said.

"It's kind of a sign -- the city is coming back," McLaughlin said. "I think it'll show to people on the outside that they are on the road to recovery."

The boardwalk bids are likely to be a topic of conversation at Tuesday's city council meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Long Beach officials have said the city plans to award the bid in the first week of April.

The schematics for the new boardwalk -- released by the city earlier this month -- call for it to be made of a resilient tropical hardwood so it would be stronger than its predecessor. The remains of the old boardwalk were carted away in mid-February, after residents took some shards of the wood as souvenirs.

Long Beach officials have said they hope to pay for the boardwalk with Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars.

Sections of the boardwalk could be completed this summer, McLaughlin said. "You're going to want it done as expeditiously as possible," he said.

Also moving forward is a proposal by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to build a dune nearly 16 feet above sea level stretching the length of Long Beach's shoreline just in front of the boardwalk. That proposal has been approved by Long Beach and Hempstead Town and awaits approval from Nassau County and later from the state.

The Nassau legislature will vote on the proposal when county officials are finished discussing "the project's environmental impact to Nickerson Beach," Nassau public works department spokesman Mike Martino said in a statement.

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