The new Long Beach boardwalk will be stronger than its predecessor, made of resilient tropical hardwood and furnished with antique aesthetic touches that will remind residents of its appearance decades ago, city officials announced Tuesday.
The project's engineer also said the boardwalk will cost more than $40 million -- $15 million more than city officials originally estimated -- prompting gasps from some in the crowd at Tuesday night's Long Beach City Council meeting.
City officials said bids for the rebuilding of the boardwalk -- a project viewed as key for the city's post-Sandy recovery -- will be opened March 28 now that the specifications are nearly in place.
"We have a chance to do this and do it right," said Jim LaCarrubba, the city's public works commissioner.
The city, working with engineer LiRo of Syosset, prioritized durability in preparing specifications for the boardwalk, LaCarrubba said. They were drawn up after a series of stakeholder meetings in which residents stressed "durability and resistance" and "accessibility to everyone," said Amy Engel of Sustainable Long Island, which helped run the meetings.
According to specifications unveiled Tuesday, the middle half-mile of the century-old, 2.2-mile boardwalk will be a hybrid of wood and concrete.
The wooden sections will be made of a "sustainable tropical hardwood" that will be "low maintenance" and stronger than the boards superstorm Sandy destroyed, according to schematics released by the city.
The boardwalk will also have a wave-break wall made of vinyl and Fiberglass sheeting aimed at preventing the type of damage caused by Sandy.
Antique-style lights will adorn the new boardwalk, said Peter Gerbasi, vice president of LiRo.
The timeline for rebuilding the boardwalk is dependent on availability of materials during a period when communities throughout the Northeast are recovering from Sandy and in need of the same equipment, city officials said.
LaCarrubba said he hopes sections of the boardwalk will be open this summer. Gerbasi said it's reasonable to expect that "most" of the project will be completed by the end of the summer.
The city intends to pay for the work with FEMA funds, officials said.