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Long Beach shore protection would cost $178M under federal plan

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' $178-million plan to protect Long Beach from future storms would include nearly 5 million cubic yards of sand and at least 22 new or rehabilitated groins, and work could start as early as this fall, federal officials said Thursday.

The project, which would be paid for by the federal government, would be a system of dunes, berms and groins -- protective structures that jut out from the shoreline -- to protect Long Beach, Lido Beach and Point Lookout, Army Corps spokesman Chris Gardner said.

The groin work would start first, and the first contracts would likely be awarded before the end of the year, Gardner said. The berm and dune work contracts would likely be awarded in early 2016, he said.

The Army Corps recently completed its draft plan for the work and will offer it for public comment in the next few days, Gardner said. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), a supporter of the work, said he would officially announce the project Friday.

The long-awaited project, in the works for more than a decade, would "provide massive protections for Long Beach residents and businesses and should allow them to sleep a bit better at night knowing that when the next Sandy comes they will be better protected," Schumer said in a statement.

The project would protect about 35,000 linear feet of shoreline on Long Beach, a barrier island, Schumer said. It would rehabilitate 15 groins in the city of Long Beach and three in the Town of Hempstead, as well as create four new groins in the Town of Hempstead.

Superstorm Sandy washed over the beach in October 2012 and caused an estimated $250 million in damage in the city of Long Beach.

The Long Beach City Council rejected an Army Corps beach-protection plan in 2006 after numerous residents opposed the project. The city signed on to the Army Corps' effort to craft a new plan in March 2013.

City officials support the plan, city council member Len Torres said in a statement. The new plan "is a crucial step toward rebuilding Long Beach stronger, smarter and safer," Torres said in the statement.

The project requires state Department of Environmental Conservation approval, Gardner said. The department supports the plan, agency spokesman Peter Constantakes said.

The project also has backing at the Nassau County and Hempstead Town levels.

Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray said she is "glad we're at a point where we're talking about dates." Nassau Executive Edward Mangano said in a statement that the project will "strengthen our shoreline and protect local neighborhoods against future storms."


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