The first project in what will be nearly $1 billion in Hurricane Sandy beach replenishment and flood control works began May 7 when contractor Great Lakes Dredge & Dock started its first 1,000-foot construction zone on New Jersey’s Long Beach Island.
The $128 million project had been stalled by beachfront homeowners who refused to sign construction easements — until Hurricane Sandy hit in October 2012.
Great Lakes has the first of three dredges, the 281’x53’x19’6″ Padre Island working about two miles offshore, pumping sand onto the Ship Bottom beach.
On shore, Great Lakes crews work in compact 1,000-foot zones, progressing between 100 and 250 feet per day, to minimize disruption during the coming summer tourist season. The pace will pick up later with the arrival of the Padre Island’s sister ship Dodge Island, and again in July when the 315’x59’x28’4″ Liberty Island arrives.
When they’re done in April 2016, they will have expanded 12.7 miles of beach using 8 million cubic yards of sand — enough to fill the Philadelphia Eagles’ football stadium eight times, said Col. Andrew Yoder, deputy commander of the Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District.
Congress authorized the project well before Sandy. But lawmakers’ slow and dysfunctional response after the storm still troubles supporters, who say this may be the last best chance for such a huge federally funded engineering project in the Northeast.