A $1.5 million construction project extending the sea wall that runs along the Route 25 causeway linking Orient and East Marion has wrapped up, federal officials announced Monday.
Work began on the project, which was partially funded by federal stimulus money, in late October.
“Completion of this project is critical to the safety of people living on the eastern end of the North Fork,” said Col. John Boule, who commands the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District, adding that the wall “significantly reduces the erosion risk to Route 25, a critical evacuation route for those communities.”
The 350-foot addition at the eastern end of the half-mile rock and concrete barrier that has stood on the edge of Orient Harbor since the 1920s is designed to solve chronic erosion threatening Route 25, the only road connecting Orient to the rest of Southold.
Terry Construction company of Riverhead was contracted to do the work on the south side of the road.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, better known as the stimulus package, provided $850,000 toward the project.
Congressman Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) has pointed to the project as an example of stimulus money well spent.
He said Monday he had pushed hard to get the project on the federal government’s radar.
“I advocated to the Army Corps to prioritize this vital work to bolster Orient’s lifeline to the North Fork, and I’m pleased to see it completed in time for the summer season,” Mr. Bishop said. “The improved causeway will better resist erosion and guarantee safe travel to and from this unique community for years to come.”
Of the remaining $650,000 cost, the Army Corps paid for about $425,000 with the state Department of Transportation paying the rest of the bill under what’s called a project partnership agreement. It was the first such agreement between the DOT and the Army Corps.
In a press release, DOT Commissioner Joan McDonald thanked Mr. Bishop, and assured motorists the sea wall extension helps make them completely safe from “the forces of the Peconic Bay” as they travel the causeway.