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Completion of Long Beach dunes delayed until spring

Engineers work on building dunes in Long Beach.

Engineers work on building dunes in Long Beach.  Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers expects completion of dunes and sand replenishment in Long Beach to be delayed until March.  

Dune work was slated to be finished in the fall, but a heavy storm season and damaged dredging equipment pushed the last of the sand rehabilitation to the spring, officials said.

"The storms in the fall really did slow us down,” Army Corps project manager Daniel Falt said. “Our hope is next summer we may be working on some crossovers, but we should be able to finish without any disruptions.”

Work on crossovers and ramps from the city’s boardwalk will continue through the end of next year. The Army Corps dredge is completing work in Fire Island inlet through the winter, where it is more protected from storms than in the open Atlantic Ocean off Long Beach.

The $230 million shoreline protection project for the barrier island will enter its final phase next year, and beach closures are not anticipated during summer construction, officials said. The city has faced intermittent partial beach closures for the past two years as Army Corps contractors have used heavy equipment to dredge sand and move boulders for newly built jetties.

Falt said the sand replenishment and dune project is about 80 percent done, with work expected to resume in March. About 300,000 cubic yards of sand still needs to be added near the center of the boardwalk between Washington and Magnolia boulevards. 

Another 300,000 cubic yards of sand are also needed to build dunes and expand the beach in front of Lido Towers in Long Beach and Lido Beach. Crews will also truck in sand to any low points on the beaches in Lido Beach and Point Lookout to ensure the coastline is even, Falt said. Crews are also completing jetties and pile driving in Point Lookout. 

Army Corps crews are working through the winter into next year to build walkovers and ramps off the boardwalk. Dunes have already been built along most of the boardwalk, and wooden piles have been driven into the ground as the basis for ramps and walkovers.

Long Beach City Council members allocated an additional $300,000 to build four wide walkovers and ramps with the same ipe wood used to build the boardwalk since they will see the most foot traffic. A new lifeguard station will also be built at Riverside Boulevard and bathrooms at New York Avenue and Neptune Boulevard.

Long Beach City Manager Michael Tangney said the city hoped to finish two of the 30-foot-wide larger ramps at Riverside and National boulevards by February, in time for the Super Bowl Sunday Polar Bear Plunge.

Army Corps officials said they began planting dune grass this fall and will resume planting in the spring. The height of the existing dunes are not expected to change and should remain near the height of the base of the boardwalk.

Army Corps engineers said Long Beach has already seen high tide and waves moving up the newly created beach, which was built up 7 feet. Officials said the larger beach and dunes were working as designed to protect the boardwalk and homes from future storm surge.

City officials have asked for the Army Corps to continue monitor the newly built jetties and inspect them in five years.

Army Corps shoreline protection project

March: Dune construction and dredging in Long Beach and at Lido Towers

Spring/summer: Ramp and walkover construction from the boardwalk 

Projected completion date: Fall/winter 2019

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