NEW YORK – Crews have resumed pumping sand onto the beaches of Rockaway as part of the Corps of Engineers’ effort to repair and restore the engineered beach there to provide coastal storm risk management benefits to the community.
Work was temporarily stopped this summer when, as expected, crews moving east reached nesting areas of the endangered piping plover around Beach 61st Street. The plovers have fledged and the no-construction environmental window ended at the beginning of September so crews have now resumed sand pumping operations.
Sand pumping will begin in the area of Beach 61st Street and continue east to the eastern end of the project area at Beach 19th Street. Sand has already been placed from Beach 149th to Beach 61st. Sand placement work is expected to be completed by the end of October.
There will be rolling beach closures of roughly 1000 foot wide sections of the beach that will be fenced off where construction work is active, but the Corps of Engineers will make efforts to limit the impacts of the ongoing work on recreation without compromising public safety. Closures will be closely coordinated with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.
So far, crews have pumped roughly 3 million cubic yards of sand at Rockaway since Hurricane Sandy and will be placing roughly 500,000 cubic yards in this final push to complete construction.
The sand pumping will complete the overall repair and restore work at Rockaway Beach, which consisted of pumping roughly 3.5 million cubic yards of sand along Rockaway Beach since Hurricane Sandy to replace sand lost during the storm as well as place additional sand to restore the beach to its design profile from when the Corps initially constructed the current Rockaway Beach project in the 1970s.
The project, primarily a wide, flat elevated beach berm, is designed to reduce risks to the community by keeping the erosive power of the waves from reaching structures and infrastructure and reducing damages from waves, inundation, and erosion.
Once sand placement work is complete, Rockaway Beach will be higher and wider than it has been in decades. This work, combined with the New York City-funded elevated berm at the back of the project area, will provide a greater level of risk management than has ever existed along the Atlantic coast of Rockaway.
The repair and restore of Rockaway Beach is being completed through two contracts, both awarded to Weeks Marine of Cranford, New Jersey. The first contract, completed in the fall of 2013, was a $10 million contract and involved the placement of roughly 600,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from East Rockaway Inlet. The second contract, which started this spring and is being currently being finished, is a $26.4 million contract that involves the placement of roughly 2.9 million cubic yards of sand.
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