The massive beach rebuilding slated for the shores of eastern Southampton Town will have to wait a few more weeks while the company conducting the dredging completes work on a sand replenishment project on Coney Island.
Consultants working for Southampton Town, and the oceanfront residents of Bridgehampton, Water Mill and Sagaponack who are ultimately paying the lion’s share of the approximately $25 million project, had hoped that the dredging company, Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, would start mobilization of the months-long effort this week. But Great Lakes is still working on Coney Island.
“They are estimating a mid-September completion in Coney Island right now, and we’re the next stop,” consultant Aram Terchunian, of First Coastal Corporation in Westhampton Beach, said this week. “We anticipate getting rolling by the end of the month.”
Once Great Lakes crews begin mobilizing, hundreds of yards of steel pipes, onshore equipment and barges will be the first things to arrive in the area. Once the pipeline is set up, a massive dredging barge will move into the waters offshore of the project area and will begin pumping sand through the pipeline and onto the beach.
When completed, the project is anticipated to add between 75 and 100 feet of width to the dry beach, though much of the more than three million tons of sand pumped ashore will be deposited below the water’s surface, creating a more sloping contour in the run-up to the surf line, to dampen the erosive effects of storm waves.
The project is expected to take about three months to complete, depending on the weather. Working around the clock, the barge will complete an estimated 300 feet of beach each day. During the work there will be a 1,000-foot safety buffer around the construction equipment. Where possible, a passage lane will be maintained along the dune line so vehicles and pedestrians can continue to travel along the beach during construction, Mr. Terchunian said.
The schedule of where construction begins, and how it progresses, will be up to Great Lakes’s engineers. “We have to give them complete flexibility about where to work, when,” Mr. Terchunian said. “They tell us where they want to begin, because that’s how you get the lowest price.”
Mr. Terchunian said regular updates on where the work will be moving each day will be posted on the town website once the project gets under way.
Project managers this week warned residents that the work will be noisy, especially in the immediate vicinity. They also warned people not to stand near the pipeline while it is in use, because sand and water are being pumped through it at a high pressure, and unexpected leaks could occur. The pipeline will run along the beach for up to a mile at a time.