By Jean Lau
New York District
Representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District and New York City announced the beginning of sand replenishment efforts at Rockaway Beach. Crews are busy placing millions of cubic yards of sand as part of the Corps efforts to repair and restore the Rockaway coastline which was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy. This work is being funded through Public Law 113-2 (Sandy Bill) and is being executed via two separate contracts. It will involve the placement of more than 3.5 million cubic yards of sand stretching from Beach 19th Street to Beach 149th Street.
The first contract involves placing roughly 600,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from East Rockaway Inlet onto severely eroded areas from Beach 89th Street to Beach 149th Street. A second contract to place an additional roughly 3 million cubic yards of sand on Rockaway Beach was awarded on August 14, 2013 and is expected to begin after the first contract is complete. Once both contracts are completed, the Corps will have restored Rockaway Beach to its originally constructed size from when the project was initially constructed in the 1970s.
"The Army Corps of Engineers is excited to begin restoration work on Rockaway Beach," said New York District Commander Col. Paul E. Owen. "We're proud to be working closely with our partners in the city and state of New York to help the Rockaway community as they continue to recover from the impacts of Sandy. This sand pumping work will help improve the area's coastal storm risk reduction, while also improving recreation and restoring the beach which is an important part of Rockaway's identity."
The project was first constructed in the 1970s, placing approximately 6.3 million cubic yards of sand from Beach 19th Street to Beach 149th Street. Over the years since the beach's original construction there have been various renourishments, with the last federally authorized and funded renourishment taking place in 2004.
The project provides coastal storm risk reduction to densely populated communities and infrastructure located along the shoreline on the Rockaway Peninsula. Protection is provided through the construction of a 100-200 foot wide beach berm at an elevation of 10 feet above mean low water (MLW) or 7.3 feet above North Atlantic Vertical Datum (NAVD). A wide, flat beach berm with a sufficient volume of sand can help keep the erosive power of the waves from reaching and destroying any set back protective elements and other structures and can reduce damages significantly from waves, inundation, and erosion.
The coastal restoration work at Rockaway Beach is part of a larger Army Corps effort throughout the northeastern United States to place nearly 27 million cubic yards of sand to restore costal storm risk reduction projects impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Nearly eight million cubic yards of that will be placed at coastal storm risk reduction projects in the state of New York, including at Coney Island and at project sites along the south shore of Long Island.
Work on both Rockaway beach contracts is expected to be complete in 2014.