It's only May, but Rockaway Beach is a hub of activity as the Army Corps of Engineers is working on phase two of its sand replenishment project to return the stretch to its pre-Hurricane Sandy levels. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Expect a wider and higher Rockaway Beach as the Army Corps of Engineers' restoration rolls from Beach 149th Street to Beach 19th Street.
"The residents wanted protection, and they wanted sand as quick as possible, and we certainly have tried our best," said Daniel Falt of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The project began in April and should finish by Halloween, when it will be two years since Hurricane Sandy washed away an estimated 1.5 million cubic yards of sand from here.
"This money is everybody in the United States' funding, so we have to go through a large number of checks and also, a lot of environmental regulations," Falt said.
The corps did secure and bid out a first sand placement contract here, restoring severely eroded sections last summer. That's why we're walking on a berm, not six feet under the concrete skeleton of the boardwalk.
A dredge two miles out sucks up sand and pumps it through an underwater pipe to the beach while bulldozers spread the grains.
The Army Corps said it will have rolling closures of 1,000 feet of beach at a time. That's shorter than four city blocks, but certainly longer than an avenue. The Army Corps will have brought 3.5 million cubic yards of sand to the beach. That's enough to build two-and-a-half sand castle Empire State Buildings.
Here, it's arranged across six miles, eventually at a width of 100 feet with the height of a basketball rim, providing protection from another storm.
"When the waves break out here, they don't break on the boardwalk. They don't break on houses," Falt said. "And also, we're bringing the beach profile up higher to prevent inundation for the Rockaway community."
It's a a $30 million temporary fix as the government nationally spends more than $100 million per year on beach restoration. They are now studying permanent protection solutions for the beach and the bay side of the peninsula.