The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is accepting bids to begin construction on a $177 million Long Beach dune project along the Atlantic coastline.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the Corps approved the Long Beach Island Dune Project Partnership Agreement Thursday covering 7 miles of beach from Point Lookout to Atlantic Beach.
The Army Corps is to open bids this week. The agreement will “ensure shovels will soon be in the ground,” Schumer said in a written statement.
“Long Beach is well on its way toward a more resilient waterfront and a more hardened shoreline between East Rockaway Inlet and Jones Inlet,” Schumer stated. “Long Beach homeowners and businesses will soon be better protected in the event of another storm.”
Superstorm Sandy roared into Long Beach in 2012, destroying much of the beach and the city’s iconic boardwalk, flooding neighborhoods and filling streets with sand.
The Long Beach City Council signed an agreement in October with New York State and engineers to begin dune construction that had been debated for more than a decade. Engineers plan to build protective 16-foot dunes and raise the beach by 5 feet. The idea of building dunes on the flat beaches of the barrier island has been opposed for years by the surfing community and some city residents.
Long Beach officials have pushed for dune protection since 1986 and are working with federal officials to replenish beach sand and build jetties as well as dunes to protect against storms like Sandy.
“The Army Corps of Engineers project is one that this City Council demanded, and for the first time in our city’s history, we will have an engineered beach to prevent flooding,” Long Beach City Council Vice President Anthony Eramo said in a statement. “This is an extremely significant step forward as we rebuild a stronger, smarter and safer Long Beach.”
Schumer said he worked to federally fund the dune project after Congress passed the $20 million Sandy Relief Bill, which included Long Island among nine coastal communities from Virginia to Maine considered vulnerable to flooding. The bill originally required federal agencies to pay 65 percent of costs, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency has agreed to cover all costs of the dune project as “ongoing construction” to offer better storm protection.
Long Beach and Hempstead Town officials met with Schumer in 2013 in Point Lookout and passed joint resolutions supporting the dune project.
“This area is in desperate need of a long-term solution to the erosion that threatens residences and businesses that call our barrier island home and each step closer that we get to the commencement of a project is a step in the right direction,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony Santino said in a statement.