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Officials release details on $17.7M Southold storm project

County Road 48 is seen on the left

County Road 48 is seen on the left of Hashamomuck Cove in Southold on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016. The Long Island Sound, seen at low tide, is on the right. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Lynn Laskos, a Southold homeowner whose family bought her County Road 48 home in the 1950s, felt firsthand the impact of coastal flooding and erosion when that home off Hashamomuck Cove facing the Long Island Sound was destroyed in a nor’easter in December 1994.

In 2004, Laskos and other residents living near the cove banded together to call for added protection along the coastline. “Enough was enough,” Laskos said Thursday. “Everybody had such severe damage that they couldn’t sustain it anymore.”

Their 12-year wait for a solution may be closer to ending, as elected officials gathered Thursday in front of Laskos’ home to announce details of a $17.7 million construction project set to be completed in 2018. The project is expected to take about seven to 10 months and fortify and protect several areas along Hashamomuck Cove from overwashing and erosion.

The feasibility study, released Aug. 12 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, states that the project will focus on construction along 1.5 miles of developed coast on the west, central and east coves in Southold. The area has 58 homes and two businesses.

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) said the project is not only important for protecting homes and businesses in the area, but also for preserving County Road 48, which he called “a critical roadway for transportation, the economy, as well as a critical evacuation route in the case of an emergency.”

Joseph Yenna, 52, a neighbor whose family has lived on the coastal street since 1976, said the back of his home was damaged during a nor’easter in December 2010 and that storm repair can cost homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The high-tide line comes through the middle of our houses,” Yenna said. “If the bulkheads weren’t here, then the houses wouldn’t be there. One good storm, one halfway decent storm — it doesn’t even have to be a cataclysmic storm — will take those bulkheads out.”

Full costs for initial planning and engineering costs will be covered federally. Construction costs, however, are to be paid with 65 percent federal funding and 35 percent financial support from a non-federal partner from the town, county and/or state. Expenses for replenishing the sand over time will be split 50-50 between federal funding and financing from non-federal partners.

Residents expressed concerned about whether the non-federal costs would be covered, but Laskos said she was optimistic that relief for families living in the area will come soon.

“All I can do is hope and pray,” she said. “I don’t think Congressman Zeldin is going to let this fail. He put too much time and effort into it to not let it happen.”

A public hearing on the project will be Sept. 19 at Town Hall. The public comment period ends Sept. 30. Residents can email comments to Judith.L.Johnson@usace.army.mil

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