My wife and I toured the Army Corps of Engineers works last Sunday. The project, which consists of sandbags 16 feet high from sea level, is just about done.
This video shows how it is going. The most westerly part of the project is quite done. The new sandbag sand dune is invisible underground supporting a covering of sand just to the height of the old dune that got washed away. Further to the east, you get to a point where you can see the sand bags themselves, all stacked up and in place, the wall of them going sideways into the end of the completed artificial dune. Further to the east is the former Ocean Beach Hotel with the huge hole dug for the root of the rows of sandbags to anchor themselves in. And you can see the remains of the old dune just barely supporting those two motels. Further along, the work in front of the Sloppy Tuna and the Surf Club still remains to be done at all, and you can see just how dangerously close to the sea, without the natural dune there, these structures have now become.
The work, when completed sometime at the end of January, will completely restore the beach along this one mile long stretch to the height that it once was before these works of man caused the old natural dune to slip away during storms.
It is delightful to see the dunes protecting downtown about to these levels. Where they are completed, I can see how this place looked back in the 1950s and no structures at all were downtown except the old East Deck Motel and the old Surf Club, since torn down. It will look that way—it already does look that way where it is completed—and it will be able to protect the town for decades.
Going in, some people have predicted gloom and doom. I suppose it could have turned out that way. It has not. They are doing what they said they would do and Montauk is indebted to the Army Corps for their construction here.
Now I am sure that there will be people who will say this won’t last, that the sand will be washed off from the sand dune fortress below it in a year or two. From the looks of it, I don’t think so. Anyway, it’s pretty easy to bring in and backfill truckloads of sand if it gets exposed in some places at no great expense. The main thing now is our town is protected. Go see for yourself.