The Army Corps of Engineers is telling residents of the Rockaways their beach will be restored over the summer, but officials say it's just a temporary fix for the kind of storm damage that only happens once every 250 years. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the beach in the Rockaways with the biggest waves ever recorded there. One, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, was 32.5 feet.
The water washed away 1.5 million cubic yards of sand, more than enough to fill the Empire State Building. But the feds say they'll replace the sand before next year.
"Our task is to construct a restored beach to the original authorized design which is a beach sand and a beach berm plus 10 feet above sea level and at least 100 feet wide," said Dan Falt of the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Army Corps told a Community Board meeting packed with Rockaway storm victims the Rehab work will go from Beach 19th to Beach 149th street. Contractors will close 1,000 feet of beach at a time for three to four day stretches. The whole project will take four to six months but it can't start before June.
"We have to get environmental permits, we have to make sure that the dredge bar sites are clean and proper and appropriate. We have to do a federal contracted process which does take some time," Falt said.
The project manager also told the crowd he still has to finish the plan, which is not good enough for some.
One woman who attended the meeting said she lost her business to the storm.
"If it takes four to five months and the storm season comes in the end of the summer it's a little worrisome," said one Rockaways resident.
Each resident brought their own storm misery and many say they want more than just sand.
"I want to see dunes, I want to see some type of protection for the beach sand," said one Rockaways resident.
"And make some kind of a boardwalk seawall," said another Rockaways resident.
The Army Corps said it's working on long-term plans to protect structures that could utilize some of those tools.
Part of the funding for the rehabilitation package is already in place. Part would likely come from the Sandy aid package recently passed by Congress. The Army Corps of Engineers also hopes that would pay a million dollars to a stalled 2003 study in how to prevent rapid beach erosion in the area.