Southold Town Beach restoration project wraps up

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | A sand restoration project at Southold Town Beach has been completed just in time for summer.

Most of the work needed to repair damage caused at Southold Town Beach by the blizzard of Dec. 26, 2010, has been completed — just in time for the summer season.

Town officials attributed the expedited process to the donation of 6,400 cubic yards of sand material from Cross Sound Ferry, which captured the material from a recent dredging project in Orient.

Director of public works Jim McMahon said that while the town has been approved for federal disaster aid for the blizzard, which caused severe erosion on the East End, the donated material created a savings of over $195,000. It did, however, cost the town $50,000 to transport the material from Orient, he said.

“This is the first time we’ve received the donated material; it usually goes to state parks in Orient,” Mr. McMahon said, adding that the Route 48 beach was restored earlier this month. “They didn’t need it and we did. It really worked out to our advantage and saved everybody a lot money.”

Town engineer James Richter said a four-inch layer of “screened sand,” which is material free of gravel, was placed on top of the dredged material.

Mr. Richter said that although the beach has been restored, it will only be a matter of time before the newly placed sand is eroded away.

“If we’d had that storm 30 years ago we wouldn’t have had a problem because the beach would have been able to take it,” Mr. Richter said, adding that the beach has become more vulnerable to erosion over the years.

The town is considering some stabilization measures, such as building a rock wall with large stones to decrease the water’s force on the shoreline, but those costly plans are currently on a town “wish list,” Mr. Richter said.

In addition to restoring sand at the beach, Mr. McMahon said the town replaced about 15 feet of parking lot that was destroyed by the storm and is applying a final layer of asphalt to it. The crumbled parking lot had been closed since the storm.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will pay up to 75 percent of the restoration project, with the state and town splitting the remaining 25 percent.

Town officials said while the total cost of the project will be considerably lower than the original $284,000 estimated due to Cross Sound Ferry’s donation, a grand total hasn’t been determined yet because work is still being done in the parking lot.

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