NEW YORK – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District will be completing the second and final Phase of coastal storm risk reduction work at Plumb Beach in Brooklyn along the Belt Parkway through most of the rest of the calendar year, which will lead to closures of the bike lane as well as of the beach and parking lot.
*-- The Corps of Engineers previously announced that there would be a bike lane detour through a designated portion of the parking lot due to the park and parking lot being used as a construction site and staging area, but as work on site has gotten closer it has become apparent that there is inadequate room in the small parking lot to safely direct walkers and bikers through the site and so the entire bike lane will need to be closed off in the area of the construction. This is important to ensuring public safety and keeping pedestrians and bicyclists safely away from ongoing construction activities.--*
“We had originally hoped that we would be able to maintain a detour for bicyclists and pedestrians while carrying out this critical coastal storm risk reduction work, but it’s becoming clear that in order to ensure public safety around the active construction site we’re going to have to close the bike lane completely,” said Dan Falt, Army Corps project manager for the Plumb Beach coastal storm risk reduction project. “We’re doing this work in an extremely tight space, surrounded by water and the busy Belt Parkway and we need to make sure that the contractor has the space to operate while also ensuring public safety by keeping bicyclists and pedestrians away from the construction activities.”
The bike lane, as well as the previously announced beach and parking lot, will be closed for the duration of the work, which is expected to be completed before the end of December. Once the closure goes into effect later this month, those traveling along the bike path will need to get off the bike path at either Flatbush Avenue traveling west or Knapp Street traveling east to prevent encountering the closed portion of the path and having to turn around.
Phase II work involves the construction of two permanent stone groins at each end of the beach to help mitigate erosion in the long run. It also involves the construction of a permanent stone breakwater in the water off the severely eroded area parallel to the beach to mitigate future sand loss. The current contract also involves planting beach grass along the sand dunes and trees and shrubs in the back dune area between the base of the dune and the bike path to help strengthen and naturalize them and retain sand as well as the installation of sand fencing to trap sand blowing landward onto the Belt Parkway. The work is being carried out by Village Dock, Inc., of Port Jefferson, N.Y., as part of a $2 million contract.
The groin and breakwater work is not expected to begin until July in order to comply with environmental restrictions. Other aspects of the work have begun, including site preparation, stockpiling stones, work preparing to plant vegetation both in and north of the sand dunes to strengthen the dunes and the installation of the sand fencing to trap sand blowing landward.
Work is also beginning on the logistics of getting the necessary large stones to the site and staging
them in order to begin work on the permanent stone groins and breakwater as soon as the prohinbition on working in the water ends in July.
Even if there appears to be a gap in work between the work on vegetation planting and sand fencing
construction and the work on the groin and breakwater construction – the beach, parking lot and bike
lane will remain closed so the contractor can continue to stay mobilized and store equipment and
stones and so that the vegetation will have time to settle in the dune and back dune areas undisturbed.
Phase I was completed in late 2012 and involved placing approximately 127,000 cubic yards of sand in the severely eroded Plumb Beach area along the Belt Parkway, a busy highway and a critical piece of the city’s infrastructure. The sand was placed just prior to Hurricane Sandy’s arrival and helped prevent serious damage to the Belt Parkway. Phase I also involved the installation of a temporary geotube groin structure to help mitigate the loss of Phase I sand until the completion of Phase II. This temporary geotube will be removed in Phase II when the permanent stone groin is constructed in its place.
While Phase I provides immediate coastal storm risk reduction benefits to both the Belt Parkway and
the frequently used bike path along it, Phase II is designed to keep the coastal storm risk reduction
benefits in place longer by managing the movement of sand and greatly reducing the need for future
renourishments at the project site.
The local cost-sharing sponsor for both phases of the project is the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation with 65 percent of funding being federal and 35 percent being local. Phase I was completed through a $3.5 million contract with Great Lakes Dredge and Dock based out of Oak Brook, Ill., and beneficially reused sand dredged from Ambrose Channel as part of ongoing efforts to deepen the navigation channels associated with the Port of New York and New Jersey.
The project includes work on National Park Service land. The Corps and New York City officials worked closely with the National Park Service during the planning of the project and the sand placement phase and will continue to do so during Phase II.