The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Long Beach have reached a compromise to start a shoreline project ahead of schedule and with minimal disruption to the busy beach season, officials said.
The Army Corps wanted to move up the second phase of the $50 million project, which was originally scheduled to begin in September. City officials, who worried about the effect construction would have on business, agreed to allow work to start on the West End of the beach.
“We were concerned about having it over the summer and interrupting our season financially on the beach,” Acting City Manager Michael Tangney said. “It [West End] was the most devastated during Sandy, and we wanted it completed long before the height of hurricane season.”
The city annually projects generating $5 million in revenue during the beach season.
The project, which is federally funded, also extends to Point Lookout and Lido Beach.
The 89-day work schedule could lead to around the clock pumping of sand and bulldozers constructing dunes on the beach.
The city will have a July 17 hearing to waive a noise ordinance that will allow crews to work 24 hours a day and seven days a week until sand is replenished and the dunes are constructed. Until the hearing, dune work will go from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning next Tuesday.
The work schedule was changed from September because engineers had a dredge available this summer, Long Beach Public Works Director John Mirando said. He said the city’s request to delay work until Sept. 1 was denied by the Army Corps due to dredging work needed in Lido Beach and Point Lookout.
Army Corps officials said they will work with the city to minimize disruptions and keep as much of the beach open as possible. The sand replacement work will temporarily close 1,000 feet of beach at a time starting at New York Avenue and move west. Each section of beach is expected to move the work site about 200 feet per day west.
“We always planned to start the work as early as possible based on the limited availability of dredge equipment, and as much in advance as possible of the peak hurricane and upcoming fall storm seasons,” project manager Daniel Falt said. “Since the dune and the dune walkover structures are already constructed in the West End, it made sense to start beach building in this location.”
Engineers began drilling and pile driving on the beach last week at Edwards Boulevard. Workers will drill and pile drive for a week at a time at 17 locations on the beach between Long Beach and Riverside boulevards.
Crews will be drilling 40 feet deep piles in front of the boardwalk to lay the initial footings for dune walkovers from the boardwalk to the beach, Mirando said. The Army Corps is using vibration monitors and drilling the first 20 feet in the sand before pile driving the last 20 feet into the ground.
The boardwalk will remain open during the pile driving, but crews will close 10 to 30 feet of beach at the back of the boardwalk, which are the least crowded areas, Mirando said.
Army Corps schedule:
Pile driving: Underway in front of the boardwalk for 16 weeks.
Sand pumping and dredging: Starts Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 24 hours, 7 days a week, through September if a noise variance is granted July 17.
Beach closures: 1,000-foot sections at a time starting at New York Avenue and moving west.