A $5-million maintenance dredging project is set to start this fall at Jones Inlet, which was ravaged by superstorm Sandy.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) announced Friday that the Army Corps of Engineers has been awarded a contract to dredge the inlet starting in November, making the waterway more functional. The dredged sand will then be placed along Point Lookout to replenish the beach.
"Today's announcement means work on this much-needed project will soon be underway, allowing fishermen and boaters to better utilize this inlet," Schumer said in a news release.
The project will dredge 636,050 cubic yards of material from the channel to a depth of 14 feet plus 2 feet allowable over depth. The dredging is expected to be completed in March.
Earlier this year, Schumer said dangerous boating conditions at Jones Inlet called for new navigational light towers at the end of the inlet's rock jetty. During superstorm Sandy, jetty rocks were dislodged and a light tower was destroyed. Boaters had pointed out the area was already hazardous to navigate at night and during inclement weather.
The inlet connects southern Long Island to the Atlantic Ocean.
In August, the Army Corps and U.S. Coast Guard installed the new navigation equipment.
Schumer's office said the Town of Hempstead will use the dredged sand for dune restoration to help protect Point Lookout. Residents there have raised concerns over eroded beaches and fear of further storm damage.
"Boaters have been concerned about the Jones Inlet becoming clogged with sand after Hurricane Sandy and Point Lookout neighbors were alarmed that eroded beaches exposed their community to storm damage," Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray said.