A nearly completed sand nourishment project is expected to bolster Southold Town’s beach for the next several years and it’s coming just in time for the busy summer season, town officials said.
The beach, off County Road 48 on the Long Island Sound, has suffered severe erosion this year after being pounded by storms.
Work is progressing on schedule, said Jeff Standish, director of Southold’s Department of Public Works. Town workers completed the sand-filling portion of the replenishment project last week, with beach grading to be completed by the end of May.
Southold normally tries to replenish its beaches twice a year to protect the parking lot near the beach, which town officials say has nearly been lost in recent years due to storms and erosion. Standish said he budgets between $5,000 and $8,000 for the project.
But this year, several major storms eroded the sand buffering the parking lot more than usual, which Standish said became evident after the last big storm on March 14.
“I noticed that we were only like, 3 feet — and some areas were 4 feet — from the edge of the parking lot,” Standish said. “So, I went to the [town] board and explained, ‘We need to do something soon, or else we’re going to lose our parking lot.’ ”
Cross Sound Ferry, which operates out of Orient Point, donated nearly $100,000 in materials for the renourishment project, including about 2,200 cubic yards of sandlike material, which Standish described as a “natural material that is normally on all Sound beaches.”
Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said the restoration work was timely, as the town beach — which opens around the end of June — attracts many visitors during the busy summer season.
The renourishment project is expected to bolster the beach for about six years, unless there are other natural circumstances, Russell said. He added that the ferry company’s donation helped to greatly reduce the town’s costs, which have not yet been calculated, but were largely for manpower, equipment and trucking the donated materials.
“They’ve been very gracious in the past, offering sand to us,” Russell said.
Stan Mickus, a spokesman for Cross Sound Ferry, said the company got involved in the current restoration project after Andy Binkowski, the ferry’s Orient Point terminal manager, told them about the situation at the town beach.
“We’re always happy to assist wherever and whenever we can; anything that can benefit the community out there,” Mickus said.
Still, Standish said the final touches on the beach won’t be completed until after all the winter weather is gone.
“We’re just waiting until the weather changes completely so more of the wind starts coming from the south,” he said. “If we spend another two, three thousand [dollars] grading it and we get another nor’easter, which has happened in April . . . well, we want to make sure that is not going to happen.”