Plumb Beach Bike Path Destroyed By Hurricane Ida

The Plumb Beach bike path after Hurricane Ida swept through in 2009.

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.”

(Article continues after photo.)

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.

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  • Bruce B

    I think it was last Sunday, I ventured to Plumb Beach in the drizzle… There was a huge pipeline out in the water, and it extended onto the beach there. Does that have anything to do with that natural gas project that’s been mentioned in another article?

    • Ned Berke

      No, sir. That’s been there a while. It’s a poop pipe.

      • Bruce B

        Oh yeah. That’s where I get my material from! Thanks, weird that I never noticed it till that day.

  • Matthijs van Guilder

    And tons of thanks to Ned for keeping this topic visible on the blog!

  • cabbie

    “approximately 300 feet of bike path crumbled away” – Will the bike path be restored as well?
    Riding my bike on the Belt Pkwy is fun, but they could have laid down a little black-top on that section long ago!

    • Ned Berke

      Every time we asked about this, we received ambiguous answers. Army Corps and Parks have both told me they see no point in fixing the bike path until the beach is complete, because it stands to just wash away if another storm hits. The issue of funding has also come up – Army Corps said none of the funding they received will be use for bike path repairs. Councilman Fidler said he would ensure it came from the funding for Brigham Park – on which work won’t begin for another few years. Parks, however, told me that funding would also not be used for the bike path. I will say that whenever I came back to the issue when talking to Fidler, he said he would ensure it’s done one way or the other, and you can bet when the weather begins to warm up again, I’ll be checking in on the issue.

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  • Sol Rosenberg

    Is it really too much trouble (and cost) to pave a couple hundred feet of asphalt so that walker, joggers, and bikers, could get through from Emmons ave to the Plumb beach parking lot… in safety? Even if its only a short term proposition, until they find a more permanent solution. How much could it cost? 10-50k tops, even with the city kickback. I dont enjoy having to walk over rocks, or inches from wizzing cars of the belt parkway. For shame to the politicians and bureaucrats!

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