The Army Corps of Engineers will begin hotly-anticipated long-term repairs to Plumb Beach today, dumping the first of 127,000 cubic yards of sand on an eroded stretch of the coastline.
The first phase of the project will see sand pumped onto Plumb Beach, brought here from Ambrose Channel – a navigational waterway that serves many of the commercial vessels entering and exiting New York Harbor. The Staten Island-based Great Lakes Dredge and Dock won the $3.5 million contract, and they will also place temporary geotube groins to prevent against any further erosion during the construction.
“Plumb Beach is being saved. The Belt Parkway is being saved. It is a good day for our community,” said Councilman Fidler.
The first phase is expected to be completed in November, with the second phase to immediately follow. In that phase, contractors will install an offshore breakwater to weaken the ocean’s powerful blows to the target section, which was once a creek before being filled to make way for the construction of the Belt Parkway. They will also implement two permanent large stone groins, which will better contain the sands.
“In a perfect world we would have built everything altogether, but the way scheduling works and the way we get federal money, it had to be in two phases,” explained Dan Falt, the project manager for the U.S Army Corps of Engineers. “We don’t anticipate any problems doing it this way.”
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Following the completion of the project, slated for spring 2013, the Army Corps will need to continue doing regular maintenance at the area, relocating displaced sand that has swept out towards the groins.
The overall cost of the project is $6.5 million, with 65 percent derived from federal funds and the remaining 35 percent from the city.
The Plumb Beach parking lot will be closed periodically for up to two weeks during the initial sand placement phase until the eastern section of beach is completed. The immediate work area will be closed off on a rolling basis as the sand placement progresses westward.
The repairs come three years after Hurricane Ida swept through, pummeling the shoreline, bike path and Belt Parkway to near destruction. Several feet of the beach vanished during the storm, and approximately 300 feet of bike path crumbled away.
Damage to the beach began just years after it was last restored in the early 90s, and groups like the Sheepshead Bay / Plumb Beach Civic Association, with the aid of then-Congressman Anthony Weiner, had been warning about erosion for more than a decade before Ida blew through.
“Success has many fathers and mothers, but I want to recognize former Representative Anthony Weiner, who started this process and played a critical role leading the early fight for it,” Councilman Fidler said in a statement yesterday in regard to the news. Following Weiner’s departure from office, Fidler said he allied with Assemblymembers Alan Maisel and Helene Weinstein to prod the local agencies – long-quarreling over jurisdiction – into action.
Once the storm struck, the community, Weiner and a slew of other elected officials renewed their call for repairs to the beach, warning of impending destruction of the Belt Parkway. The Army Corps announced it had concluded planning this past February, a year after it opened up plans for public comment, and would award a contract in June, though construction was scheduled for fall to accommodate horseshoe crab mating season.
“With terrific coordination between our local elected officials, the Army Corps of Engineers, the National Parks Service, the Department of Parks and Recreation and other agencies, this is truly a success story,” Fidler said.