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As Groins Take Shape, the Rockaway Project Keeps Moving

New York District
Published Jan. 25, 2021
Updated: Jan. 25, 2021
Crews work on the Rockaway Project.

Trucks deliver Type A and B Armor Stone for groin construction in Rockaway, NY.

Crews work on the Rockaway Project.

Rock handlers move stones for to prepare for groin construction for the Rockaway Project.

Crews work on the Rockaway Project.

Rock handler places stones on head of groin in Rockaway Beach.

Crews resume work at Rockaway.

Crews resume beach work at Rockaway.

Rockaway, NY- Crews are hard at work executing the first contract tied to the East Rockaway Inlet to Rockaway Inlet, and Jamaica Bay Project in New York. This project has been in the works for more than a decade and was accelerated following the impacts from Hurricane Sandy and a series of Nor’easters that have left the community vulnerable to risk from coastal flooding.

Workers are finishing up the head of one groin, and continuing to cap off another, as the first two groins of the main-construction project take shape. The current contract consists of multiple beach improvements for Rockaway and was awarded in June of 2020 to H&L Contracting LLC for $113.9M. Two types of armor stone are being delivered to the beach to prepare for the beginning of groin construction. Groins are stone structures that are meant to slow down natural beach erosion. Rockaway will be getting 14 new groins, while 5 others are being refurbished, in continuing efforts to further protect the peninsula and reduce coastal storm risk for residents of the community. The remains of aging timber piers along the project area will also be further broken down and removed.

The groins will be made up of different kinds of armor stone. Type A armor stone is 7-12 tons, while Type B is typically 3-7 tons. Both types of armor stone are being excavated from quarries in New Jersey, with bedding stone used as foundation for the groins. Bedding stones are smaller stones used as a base to support the larger type A and B armor stones. Once the contractor has finished capping off the first 2 groins they’ll continue down the coastline.

This type of work requires heavy construction equipment to place the stones into position. The contractor is making good use of excavators in addition to construction trucks that haul the stones from the staging area to the project site. This work also carries some hazards as excavators and trucks are required to navigate tight areas and even drive out onto existing groins to facilitate construction, meaning it’s not something everyone can do. “The goal of the Rockaway Program is to increase the resiliency of the storm protection along the shoreline, Contract 1 and the construction of the groins is just step 1 in that process. The reinforced dune in Contract 2 and sand placement.” said Ryan Ferguson, Project Engineer, New York District.

During construction, beaches are closed in 500-600 foot, sections to allow work to continue as well as not to restrict access to the beach during this Winter Season. More closures are expected as the project moves along the coastline building additional coastal storm risk reduction measures. Groin work is expected to continue as scheduled through Summer of 2024. The next phase will begin this year, Contract 2. This contract will consist of reinforced dune construction, and pedestrian beach crossovers. Timber structures will be used as supports for crossovers to facilitate beach access from the street side. The dunes will provide additional measures aimed at reducing the risk from future coastal storms along the Rockaway Peninsula. USACE is also expected to provide additional sand placement. USACE is currently completing detailed design work for risk reduction measures for the Jamaica Bay side of the Rockaway peninsula.  Because of the complexity of this work, and the related drainage structures, this work will take longer to finalize, and construction is intended to begin in late 2023.