Damage done to Port Jefferson beaches by over the last few years has resulted in a severely shortened beach with much of the sand eroding through the sieve-like 100-year old jetties on either side of Mount Sinai Harbor.
According to trustee Lee Rosner who has been coordinating the beach restoration project, the village is expected to put out packages for public bid by next week.
The reconstruction comes in two phases, according to Rosner. At , repairs to the steel sea wall, revetment, bath house repair, parking lot, sidewalks, ramps, utilities and other site work constitutes the first phase and should cost around $1,450,000. Phase two will comprise of dredging, replenishing sand and some planting at a cost of around $500,000.
Crystal Brook Hollow Beach repairs will also be done in two phases. Similar sea wall and parking lot repairs along with revetment work will cost around $280,000 is planned for the first phase. Dredging and sand replacement will also be done costing around $60,000.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and New York State will cover 87.5 percent of the total cost of repairs. The village has to come up with the rest of the money.
"If we don’t use it we will lose it," said Mayor Margot Garant of the FEMA funds.
At Monday’s village board meeting, Rosner updated the public on the project. He said that he expects it to be three weeks after the bids go out before they are accepted and then construction will take another five to six weeks.
If construction begins in June, then the beach could be ready in July, although Rosner said it will not be soon enough to make the Fourth of July holiday.
In response to question from the public about restoring sand to the beach just to have it lost through the ancient jetties, Rosner said that sand replenishment was a very small part of the project.
“Replacement of sand is the least part of the work,” he said. “The bulk of the money is going to rebuilding that wall that goes from one side of the parking lot to the other.”
He said that the water will probably come right up to the wall and most of the beach will be lost.
Previously Rosner said that getting the jetties repaired has been a difficult task as Brookhaven Town and Suffolk County don’t have the resources needed to even start planning a project.
“We were meeting with the town and county on regular basis,” he said in a . “We’re all partners. The Town is the lead agency. They own the jetty.”
Sand continues to fill in from Port Jefferson beaches into Mt. Sinai harbor.
Rosner said a project to dredge the harbor and bring sand back to Port Jefferson beaches would be costly and neither municipality has the money right now to do it. In an earlier interview about storm damage he said that dredging has been tried in the past.
“In 2006, there was a dredging done of Mout Sinai Harbor inlet and Cedar Beach and sand was moved to re-nourish the Port Jefferson beach,” said Rosner.
Storms have shifted much of the sand back to Cedar Beach and into Mount Sinai harbor.
Garant said during the last board meeting that the seawall need to be repaired to protect the structure that is there.
“We’re not rebuilding that beach,” she said.
She said that the village needs sit back down with Suffolk County and the Army Corps of Engineers to resolve the problem.
Rosner said that the cost would be about $9 or $10 million because both the east and west jetties at the mouth of the harbor are bad.
“The east side jetty is the real problem according to the Army Corps of Engineers,” he said. “The west jetty is owned by Brookhaven.”
Without money to dredge or fix the jetties, sand will continue to fill in the harbor from beaches to the west.
“When the first ship hits the sand the Town of Brookhaven will have a real problem,” said Garant.
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