The Hamptons’ exclusive oceanfront ave, Dune Road, will have a different face in 2017. The tony thoroughfare has been in need of a major dune restoration following years of flooding and overwash problems, but the project has failed to get off the ground. Now, instead of elevating the road or bolstering the dunes alongside it, local planners are throwing in the towel in their fight against nature and making Dune Road into Dune River.
“Some might be skeptical of the idea, but this flooding problem isn’t going away—even if we dump $8 million into completely raising and refurbishing the road and dunes,” Hamptons Planning Commission president Barton C. Hackeye explains. “The Dune River project won’t be cheap either, but it will last forever,” Hackeye says, adding, “It’ll be our own little Venice on the East End.”
When construction is complete, the once destructive and frustrating overwash waters will be channeled from the ocean into Dune River’s canal, where it will help rather than harm, according to the proposal, which was adopted at Monday’s Planning Commission meeting. Oceanfront homeowners on Dune Road will now park in one of six designated residential parking lots north of Dune River and then take a boat, or simply walk over one of several footbridges, to their respective abodes.
Some homeowners are embracing the idea, but many Dune Road residents are furious about the plan. “How will construction crews or maintenance people access our homes?” one angry Westhampton resident asked on Monday. “If my wife goes shopping, how will she get her bags from the car to the house?”
Hackeye scoffs at such remarks. “Carry or ferry those bags—or would you rather have the ocean swallow up your home, your car and all the crap your wife bought?” he replied. “Look, these are First-World problems. You can afford to pay your construction crews and maintenance staff a little extra for their trouble,” Hackeye continued. “Besides, we will have barges and other such things available to help all Dune River residents. This is like Venice. In the Hamptons. What’s not to love?”
The Dune River project is slated for completion by summer 2017.