The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New York District, has awarded a $10 million contract to Weeks Marine of Cranford, N.J., to place approximately 600,000 cubic yards of sand along Rockaway Beach in areas where erosion is most critical as part of near-term coastal restoration efforts taking place at previously constructed coastal storm risk reduction projects throughout the region like Rockaway Beach.
The contract is the first of two that will be awarded this summer for Rockaway Beach restoration and a total of roughly 3.5 million cubic yards of sand will be placed in the near future along the eroded beach that was hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.
The work is being carried out to provide additional coastal storm risk reduction for the community using the Corps of Engineers statutory authorities to repair the federally constructed project at Rockaway that was constructed in the 1970s in partnership with the state of New York and New York City.
The roughly 600,000 cubic yards of sand being placed through this first contract will be dredged from East Rockaway Inlet, helping to improve safe navigation in addition to restoring coastal storm risk reduction for the Rockaway community.
The second sand placement contract, slated for award later this summer, is expected be for the placement of nearly 3 million cubic yards to be dredged from an offshore borrow area.
The first, smaller contract will provide a backstop of sand in the most eroded areas of the beach from Beach 89th to Beach 149th while preparatory work finishes for the larger second contract. Work on the second forthcoming contract will involve sand placement from Beach 19th to Beach 149th and the estimated total amount of sand placed through both contracts will be roughly 3.5 million cubic yards.
“The Army Corps of Engineers is excited to get this important first contract awarded for the placement of sand at Rockaway Beach and to restore a buffer to mitigate the impacts of future storms big and small,” said New York District Commander Col. Paul E. Owen. “This contract is the first of two that will ultimately restore the beach to a robust condition that many people may not even remember having ever seen on the beach and we hope that in addition to helping provide improved coastal storm risk reduction that this work also help the region heal by restoring an important and central element to this coastal community.”
Everything the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does must be tied to a statutory authority and this work at Rockaway Beach is the result of two statutory authorities, one previously existing and one new since Hurricane Sandy.
Through the Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies Act, PL 84-99, the Corps of Engineers is authorized to repair previously constructed projects after a large event like Hurricane Sandy. Put simply, this pre-existing authority allows the Corps to return the project area to pre-storm conditions. Through this legal authority, the Corps of Engineers is authorized to place approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of sand along Rockaway Beach to replace the roughly 1.5 million cubic yards of sand lost from the project area during Hurricane Sandy.
Through the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (the Sandy Relief Bill, or PL 113-2), the Corps of Engineers is authorized to restore certain previously constructed projects impacted by Hurricane Sandy to their original design profile. Through this legal authority, the Corps of Engineers is authorized to place the additional roughly 2 million cubic yards of sand at Rockaway Beach to restore the project area to its original design profile. PL 113-2 also allocated the funds for the coastal restoration work.
Construction work on the beach for the first contract will begin in either later this month or early July depending on how long it takes to mobilize equipment and get set up. Work on this first contract will likely be completed around the end of the summer.
The second sand placement contract, for the placement of an additional roughly 3 million cubic yards of sand throughout the authorized project area from Beach 19th to Beach 149th, is slated to be awarded later this summer.
While restoration work is going on, there will likely be rolling closures of roughly 1000 foot wide sections of the beach where construction work is active, but the Corps of Engineers will make efforts to limit the impacts of the ongoing work on recreation without compromising public safety. Closures will be closely coordinated with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
“These kinds of beach restoration projects involve large pipes and heavy machinery and we must ensure we carry out the work in a safe and responsible manner that limits risks to the public, which means there will likely have to be limited beach closures in small sections,” Owen said. “We will work with our partners in New York City Parks to coordinate the closures and limit the impacts to recreation, but we need to balance that with the importance of providing increased coastal storm risk reduction to the community to help reduce the risk from future storms.”
The coastal restoration work at Rockaway Beach is part of a larger U.S. Army Corps of Engineers effort throughout the northeastern United States to place nearly 27 million cubic yards of sand to restore coastal storm risk reduction projects impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Nearly 8 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.
About New York District: New York District is responsible for the Corps of Engineers’ water resource development, navigation, and regulatory activities in northeastern New Jersey, eastern and south-central New York State, including the New York Harbor and Long Island, and parts of Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The District is also responsible for design and construction at Army and Air Force installations in New Jersey, New York and overseas in Greenland.
Press Release, June 12, 2013