6 miles of beach in Water Mill, Bridgehampton and Sagaponack, was hoped to be rebuilt by this winter, but the project is being put off until 2013 because state legislation needs to approve the special tax exemptions for it to be paid for.
Local politicians in the Hamptons such as Fred Thiele and Anna Thorne Holst have said that the project would have been difficult to accomplish on time for other factors as well, such as reviewing bids from contractors who would begin the work.
The Shinnecock Inlet however, will begin restoration as early as next month. Congressman Tim Bishop announced that work to dredge Shinnecock Inlet will begin in November, with 128,000 cubic yards of sand from the dredged inlet to be placed on the badly eroded section of beach known as West of Shinnecock Inlet (WOSI).
In June, Bishop announced that he had secured $5.1 million in federal funding through the US Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies program. On September 28, ACOE awarded a contract for repairs to the West of Shinnecock Inlet Interim Project to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Co. in the amount of $3,875,000.00, well under budget. Work is expected to begin on or about November 1st pending final consultations between ACOE and the contractor.
A portion of the $5.1 million secured by Congressman Bishop has been spent to prepare the design documents for the project and ACOE will hold the remaining funds for construction management and contingencies. After construction is complete, all excess funds remaining will be reassigned to other emergency repair projects, and Bishop said he will advocate strongly to keep any remaining funds on Long Island.
“I fought for a strong federal response to mitigating the damage from Tropical Storm Irene, and this vital project will protect the more than 500 jobs that rely on the small businesses and marine infrastructure located west of Shinnecock Inlet and will also ensure continued safe access to New York’s second-busiest fishing port,” said Congressman Bishop. “We should all applaud the fact that the bid for the project was lower than expected and that taxpayers can expect extra bang for their buck with the federal-state partnership on this work.”
An additional $1,615,000 in optional bid items including additional dredging requested by the NYSDEC using their NY Works funds will be awarded upon receipt of funding from New York State within the next two weeks. Any leftover funds from the state funded project will be devoted to placing more sand at the WOSI beach. All work is expected to be completed by the end of the winter dredging season in January 2013, according to the Army Corps.
“This much needed dredging project will ensure recreational boaters, sport fishermen and commercial fishermen will be able to safely navigate the Shinnecock Canal, a waterway that is a critical part of our economy and way of life which must be protected. Investing in these projects will help prevent coastal erosion and ensure that residents and visitors can continue to enjoy these areas for years to come,” said Senator LaValle.
Assemblyman Fred Thiele stated, “I am pleased that through the efforts of Congressman Bishop the dredging at the Shinnecock Inlet is ready to proceed next month. This past March, working with State Senator Ken LaValle, we were successful in gaining the needed state matching funds for the project. This project will insure safe navigation as well as providing much coastal protection for critical resources at Shinnecock, including the commercial fishing pier, important recreational facilities and local businesses. The project means jobs that benefit our traditional economic bases of fishing, tourism and the second home industry”
“The Shinnecock Port, which is protected by the WOSI area, and the navigability of the Shinnecock Inlet, are both crucially important to the local economy. On behalf of the residents of Southampton Town, I thank Congressman Bishop for securing this funding and for ensuring the work will begin in such a timely fashion. The beach replenishment and emergency stockpiles are sorely needed as the winter storm season approaches,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.