U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, NEW YORK DISTRICT – The Montauk Point Lighthouse is the first lighthouse built in New York State. The lighthouse was designated a National Historic Landmark on March 5, 2012.
Frank Verga, project manager at Montauk explained the status of the lighthouse, how the USACE got involved, and the significance of the lighthouse:
“In March 2006, the Corps completed and approved a feasibility study which recommended placement of a new stone revetment to cover the most critically eroding area of Montauk Point, in order to avoid the eventual total loss of the irreplaceable historic lighthouse and complex. In response to the 2012 Hurricane Sandy event, the Corps completed and approved a reevaluation report in April 2017 which refined the design of the stone revetment and provided the authority to utilize Hurricane Sandy Federal funds for project construction (Public Law 113-2). A Project Partnership Agreement was executed between the Corps and State of New York in January 2019, which cost-shares project design and construction at 65% Federal, and 35% Non-Federal. The construction contract for the new stone revetment was awarded by the Corps in January 2021, and project construction was initiated March 2021. Project construction is currently underway, with estimated completion by Fall 2023.
The lighthouse was authorized by the Second Congress, under President George Washington, in 1792. Construction was completed November 1796, and it still serves as an aid to navigation. The Montauk Point Lighthouse was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior, in recognition of the property’s national significance in the history of the United States. The lighthouse is on the Federal and State’s Register of Historic Places.
The Montauk Historical Society will maintain the project after construction and will continue to protect and preserve this nationally significant landmark. The completed project will allow this historic site to continue to be used by tourist and be enjoyed by everyone for many years to come.”
Frank Verga, New York District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also answered the following questions:
Can you tell me about the project and why it’s important? What’s the purpose? What type of project is it? The Montauk Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1796 approximately 300 feet from the edge of the bluff. The bluff has become increasingly less stable over the years with the lighthouse now sitting less than 100 feet from the edge, leaving it extremely vulnerable to coastal storm erosion and significant damage. The new project includes the reconstruction of approximately 1,000 linear feet of stone revetment, including removal and reuse of existing armor stones, and delivery and placement of new 10 to 20 tons of armor stones, in order to construct the new revetment. The project is designed to protect the historic Montauk Point lighthouse, complex, bluff area and associated cultural resources by stabilizing the site.
What’s the significance of the lighthouse? The Montauk Point Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in New York State. The lighthouse was authorized by the Second Congress, under President George Washington, in 1792. Construction was completed November 1796, and it still serves as an aid to navigation. The Montauk Point Lighthouse was designated a National Historic Landmark on March 5, 2012, by the Secretary of the Interior, in recognition of the property’s national significance in the history of the United States. The lighthouse is on the Federal and State’s Register of Historic Places.
Take me inside the process that led to this particular engineering solution? The original feasibility report evaluated various alternatives to determine the most appropriate solution to provide coastal storm risk management for the bluff and lighthouse complex. Alternatives evaluated included no-action, relocation of the lighthouse, and various structural alternatives, including a stone revetment, offshore breakwater with beach, t-groins with beach, and beach nourishment. The stone revetment alternative was ultimately selected as the recommended project.
What kind of challenges are you facing in executing this project? The goal has been to construct the project while minimizing impacts to the lighthouse, State Park and Town areas. Although the entire stone revetment and staging area is closed to public access during project construction, public parking and the lighthouse complex remains open, with safe public access into the lighthouse and along the staging areas for continued public access to nearby beach areas. New stones are delivered to the project staging areas via truck, and are stored onsite within the project staging area, and project construction work is normally every day, 5 days per week. In order to accommodate certain holidays and various ongoing local public events in the area, we have coordinated several specific dates during the year which allow for no stone delivery and/or no onsite work. Specific dates were coordinated with the Montauk Point Historical Society, State Parks and Town of East Hampton.
Are you comfortable with the progress, are you on schedule? We are making great progress on site, and are on schedule for completing the new revetement by Fall 2023.
How much does the project cost? The project's construction cost is currently estimated at $44 million, which includes the construction contract, Corps supervision and administration, and associated design efforts.
Is there anything you’d like to add? The Montauk Historical Society will maintain the project after construction and will continue to protect and preserve this nationally significant landmark. The completed project will allow this historic site to continue to be used as a tourism attraction and be enjoyed by everyone for many years to come.
To learn more about the Montauk Lighthouse, please click on the link below: