The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has started coastal protection work in Long Beach that could lead to partial beach closures through the summer, agency officials said.
Engineers began preparing the beach to construct jetties and protective rock structures known as groins, which are built perpendicular to the beach to trap sand and stabilize the beach. Fencing has been put up on the beach in front of the boardwalk for construction vehicles and machinery to access the shoreline
Engineers are planning to start groin construction in mid-April between Riverside and Edwards boulevards, which will lead to partial beach closures, Army Corps officials said. Small portions of the beach will be closed in the construction areas as crews work on two groins at a time.
“Keeping the beach open and accessible is a priority for us; our target is for minimal impact on beachgoers,” said Michael Embrich, the Army Corps spokesman in New York. “The area will then be reopened when the rehabilitation of those two groins are finished. The crews will then move on to the next two groins and continue the cycle until work is complete.”
The Long Beach project is part of a $230 million federally funded beach protection project adding dunes and groins across 7 miles of coastline from Jones Inlet in Point Lookout to Rockaway Inlet, west of Atlantic Beach.
The project has been planned for decades as part of efforts to protect Long Island’s vulnerable Atlantic Ocean shoreline. The need for coastal protection was heightened after superstorm Sandy destroyed the boardwalk and flooded most of Long Beach and much of the South Shore in 2012.
City officials said that even with work scheduled to continue through September, all areas will remain open other than 500 feet of beach on either side of the work taking place.
Long Beach city leaders, joined by Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), Assemb. Melissa Miller (R-Atlantic Beach) and Legis. Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) last month asked the Army Corps to adjust the work schedule to minimize the impact on the city’s peak summer beach season.
“The city council has worked closely with Sen. Kaminsky, Assemb. Miller, Legis. Ford, and Sen. Charles Schumer’s office to ensure that the inconvenience Long Beach residents face this summer would be minimized while also allowing the project to proceed in a timely manner with measures put in place to protect the City from future storms,” City Manager Jack Schnirman said last week.
All work in the boardwalk area will be finished by May 25, just before Memorial Day weekend, with additional work planned elsewhere on the beach — off New York and Neptune boulevards — through Labor Day. Engineers will not work on any additional groins until after Labor Day, unless approved by the city, according to the Army Corps schedule. Engineers plan to install six groins across the beach before Labor Day and may install two additional groins if the other work finishes early.
Engineers will build haul roads for construction vehicles to access the beach. At each boardwalk beach access point, a pedestrian corridor will be made across the roads and work areas to keep access to the beach open.
The city has authorized the contractors to work from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. six days a week until Memorial Day and then on weekdays only through the summer. The project will use 20 trucks per day, making deliveries of stones once in the morning and another in the afternoon.
“This project is vital to protecting our coastline from future storms, and officials at every level of government have been working hard to minimize the impact on the summer season,” Kaminsky said.