Federally funded repairs are on the way for the Asharoken seawall. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved $516,500 to fix the artificial wall that protects Asharoken Avenue from storm surge, village Mayor Patricia Irving said Wednesday.
The repair will use steel caps instead of wood, to provide a more lasting solution to support the seawall, Irving said.
"It's unfortunate that the wood caps were either a bad design or weren't properly installed," Irving said, adding she is relieved the project and maintenance will be under Army Corps jurisdiction.
The wall was built in 1998 to hold back storm waves from the Long Island Sound. The corps repaired it in 2008 and 2010, following severe storms. During storms in recent years, the wood caps become projectiles and endangered residents and motorists, officials said.
Asharoken Avenue is the only access road to the village and Eaton's Neck. When storm waves flood the road and winds are high, village officials close it for safety, cutting off thousands of residents and the U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue Station in Eaton's Neck.
Rep. Steve Israel [D-Huntington], who since 2009 has secured almost $3 million in federal money for infrastructure improvements and repairs for the seawall, said in a news release that he was glad the Army Corps approved plans to repair the seawall with more durable steel caps, "and the cost of the repairs will be 100 percent federally funded."
Irving said she did not know when the project would begin.
"We've been very lucky to get the congressman to move the project forward, and I will continue to work across the aisle, with Republicans and Democrats, because it's all about public safety," she said.