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Asharoken asks Army Corps to fix deteriorating sea wall

The Asharoken seawall seen on Sunday.

The Asharoken seawall seen on Sunday. Credit: Andrew Theodorakis

Asharoken is formally asking for federal assistance to repair its sea wall as flooding has shut down Asharoken Avenue three times in the past few months.

The deteriorating conditions of the sea wall have spurred the village administration to officially request assistance after a feasibility study on the 10-foot-tall wall was conducted last year. The wall helps keep the Long Island Sound from inundating Asharoken Avenue, which is the only connection between mainland Huntington Town and Eatons Neck.

In December, the village board of trustees and Huntington officials sent a joint letter to the state Department of Environmental Conservation to request that the United States Army Corps of Engineers develop a plan to fix the sea wall and the eroded beach next to it.

"This is a critical infrastructure repair that has to be done as quickly as possible," said Asharoken Village Mayor Greg Letica. "In the last two months, we've had nine hours of road closure because of the flooding of the road."

One day, "all the kids that live on the other side of the sea wall had about a two-hour delay in getting to school because the road was impassable," he added.

The letter asked the Army Corps of Engineers to create what is called a Locally Preferred Project to analyze different types of durable sea wall design structures, the effectiveness of restoring a cobble beach and to consider elevating Asharoken Avenue in the sea wall area.

Built in 1994, the 1,000-foot-long sea wall is rusting away, Letica said. In 2011, a damaged portion of the wall underwent a $2.2 million rehabilitation project by the Army Corps of Engineers. In 2016, village residents  rejected a proposal to restore a 2.4-mile section of the beach — including a small section in front of the sea wall — using federal funds because of a mandate to allow public access  to private beaches.  

Letica said the new project may again require public access, though he said it would be limited to the area by the sea wall. "Depending on what’s done public access may be required on the beach, but only in the area of the sea wall," he said. "It depends on the final plan."

The Town of Huntington is supporting the village's bid for help and co-signed the letter to the DEC. “Our residents in Eatons Neck are impacted each and every time a coastal storm produces an overtopping, undermining, or closure of Asharoken Avenue, which is why the Town has partnered with the Village of Asharoken on working collaboratively with our State and Federal agencies towards the development of a Coastal Storm Risk Management Study that will help in developing a long-term solution for this problem," said town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci in an emailed statement.

The state DEC said it's processing the village's request. Representatives from the DEC and the Army Corps of Engineers said they have requested more information from the village before restarting the study.

"They did say they wanted some issues clarified and we are awaiting the response," Letica said.

Fixing the sea wall

2011 — $2.2 million rehabilitation project on a small portion by Army Corps of Engineers

2016 — Village residents reject proposal to restore beach including area by sea wall

2017 — Village hires First Coastal Consulting for technical consulting

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