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Babylon to replace aging bulkhead, deck at Gilgo Beach Marina

A contractor is hoisted to a small dock

A contractor is hoisted to a small dock while working at the Gilgo Beach Marina in Babylon Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Credit: Barry Sloan

The Town of Babylon will spend $1.73 million to replace an aging bulkhead and build a new deck at Gilgo Beach Marina.

Deputy Town Supervisor Tony Martinez said the project began last month, and he hopes it will conclude in time for the marina to reopen for the summer in April.

Babylon hired Oyster Bay-based Woodstock Construction Group Ltd. for the job, documents show. Woodstock will remove about 1,000 feet of timber at the marina, which has 93 boat slips, and replace them with vinyl sheeting and a deck of Brazilian walnut.

The existing bulkhead is more than 50 years old, Martinez said, and plans to replace it predate superstorm Sandy in October 2012. The storm damaged the marina and made the project even more necessary, he said.

But other municipal properties, like the nearby Cedar Beach Marina, were hit even harder and had to be replaced first, which is why the town is only now carrying out the work at Gilgo Beach.

Complicating the effort is the additional bulkhead that Woodstock workers discovered during the course of demolition, Martinez said.

“This happens in any construction,” he said. “Once you start digging you start finding what else is there.”

Removing the additional bulkhead will cost $75,000, according to a town board resolution passed last week. Martinez said this will not increase the total cost of the project, as its budget included a “contingency line” to cover unanticipated expenses.

Bulkheads and other structures designed to fortify coastlines will become increasingly important as sea levels rise, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. New York’s coastal waters are projected to rise 18 to 50 inches by 2100, according to the agency’s website.

Henry J. Bokuniewicz, a professor of oceanography at Stony Brook University, said bulkheads are an effective way to strengthen coastlines.

“Bulkheads work,” he said. “These are engineered structures, so they’ve got to be built right. But if they are, they can last for decades.”

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