A $15.2 million beach renourishment project—part of the federal Sandy Recovery Act—is now underway on Dune Road in Westhampton Beach, Westhampton Dunes and Westhampton, and is expected to last into December.
Approximately 1 million cubic yards of sand will be dredged offshore and pumped to the beach to repair dunes and elevate and widen the beach, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Spokesman Chris Gardner explains that the corps built dunes on the 4-mile stretch of beach in 1997 for coastal storm risk reduction.
Approximately 3.5 million cubic yards of sand were placed to make dunes and a beach berm. Vegetation was planted on the dunes to strengthen them and sand fencing was installed to help sand accumulate. The area was partially renourished in 2001, 2005 and 2009.
The corps has the authority to repair its projects to their pre-storm states after major storms such as Hurricane Sandy, Gardner says. In this case, the Sandy Recovery Act gave unique authority to restore this project back to its original, 1997 design.
“It functioned during Sandy,” Gardner says of the project area. “It prevented a great deal of damage.”
Now the dunes need to be touched up and the beach in front of the dunes must be elevated.
A contract was originally awarded in 2013 to Great Lakes Dredge and Dock to perform the work for $14.2 million. The work was pushed off to 2014, and after shorebird nesting season, and an additional $1 million was tacked on to the cost.
During this time, some beach access for recreational use may be restricted.