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Portion of beach in Long Beach to close for storm project

A section of the beach in front of the western end of the boardwalk on Long Beach will be closed starting next week as workers move ahead of schedule on a storm protection project.

Officials plan to start work next week on the beach in front of Grand Boulevard, which will close less than 1,000 feet of beach space for construction of jetties and groins in the water, Long Beach Director of Public Works John Mirando said.

Contractors for the Army Corps of Engineers already have completed the six jetties and groins they had planned to finish on Long Beach City beaches before Labor Day, he said.

The Army Corps is building dunes and jetties along the 7-mile coastline on the barrier island from Rockaway Inlet, west of Atlantic Beach, to Jones Inlet. The $230 million federally funded project is expected to be completed by next spring.

The project is aimed at protecting the city from flooding and tidal surges, such as what happened during superstorm Sandy five years ago, when most of the city was flooded and the boardwalk was destroyed.

After the six jetties and groins were completed, city and Army Corps officials were eager to continue work on the remaining jetties at Grand Boulevard and at Tennessee Avenue in the west end.

Long Beach City officials asked the Army Corps to complete Grand first to minimize beach closures for residents. Work at Tennessee Avenue would have closed 2,000 feet of narrow beach to create a road to haul stone from New York Avenue, Mirando said. Engineers now plan to complete work at Tennessee Avenue after Labor Day.

“We want to get them in and out of here,” Mirando said. “The more groins they get done now, they won’t be shutting down beaches next summer.”

The work at Grand Boulevard is expected to last about five weeks and will only close about 50 feet of beach east of Grand Boulevard, Mirando said.

The work will not delay the city’s free concerts on Wednesday nights or free movies on the beach on Saturday nights. Contractors said they can work around the concert and movie showing areas, Mirando said.

Beachgoers instead will be asked to move toward the beach near Lindell Boulevard, which has been less crowded so far this summer. The city also said it is working to address the concerns of concession operators about loss of business on the boardwalk stemming from the work.

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