Unfinished Business: Montauk Breastworks at Dirtbag Beach

Sandbags on the beach
An example of what we could be seeing in Montauk, Photo: tunedin123/123RF

A driving rain and 50-mile-an-hour winds from offshore brought high tides to the south shore beaches two weeks ago. Among other things, this weather once again tore off some of the blanket of pristine beach sand covering the underground sandbags in Montauk. It wasn’t quite as big a tear as happened last fall, but the sandbags were exposed nevertheless. The Army Corps of Engineers built this project last winter and was about to turn it over to the town and county for future maintenance when the first tear happened. And now this.

The Army Corps had to delay the handover that first time. The project was not quite “done.” This time it is not quite “done” either. So once again it’s clearly the case that the town and county still can’t take the project over.

The project was promised by the Army Corps to raise up a beautiful three-quarter-mile-long beach and protect downtown Montauk for the next 20 years. After that first tear, the Army Corps took three months to get around to fixing it. Lots of paperwork involved in getting a bulldozer to push over some sand and pack it on top, I suppose. The summer season is coming. One wonders what it will look like on Memorial Day.

Perhaps the motel and resort advertising should change. Don’t call the town beachfront. Call the project a breastworks. It’s an old fashioned word for an earthen wall. Climb up atop the breastworks and look out at the sea.

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