The Army Corps of Engineers has temporarily postponed work on a $230 million coastal protection project as officials monitor weather conditions created by Hurricane Florence.
“We’re just going to wait and observe the sea conditions, but we don’t anticipate work resuming until the weekend at this point — whatever the sea state allows us,” Army Corps Project Manager Dan Falt told the Herald on Monday.
Though the corps suspended work on pumping 4 million cubic yards of sand onto the beach, Falt said that crews were continuing to drive piles for the dune crossovers along the boardwalk.
The second phase of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ coastal protection project also hit a delay last month as a result of rough weather and a broken dredge, which has since been repaired, Falt said.
A thousand feet of beach at a time is being closed off to allow for the sand placement, which will extend the beach 200 to 300 feet between the water and the new dunes. To date, Falt said that 25 percent of the sand replenishment has been completed from Long Beach to Point Lookout.
In July, the City Council voted unanimously to approve a noise variance that allowed the Army Corps to work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to complete the project by October, nearly a year ahead of schedule. Falt said that it was too soon to say how the delays created by Florence would impact the completion date, but said that the project is expected to finish in the winter.
“We won’t know until work resumes,” he said, adding that he did not expect recent to delays to significantly set back the project. “I assume we’ll be working into the winter. Obviously, with the nor’easter season, it will take a little longer.”
The city, meanwhile, said it is also monitoring the storm and will provide updates at www.longbeachny.gov/ready. The city urged residents to be prepared, and encouraged them to attend a New York State Citizens Preparedness Corps training session at City Hall last week.
According to the Associated Press on Tuesday, Florence was set to hit the Carolinas with 105 mph winds,a 13-foot storm surge and catastrophic flooding.
According to the Washington Post, “forecasts generally project the storm to make landfall between northern South Carolina and North Carolina’s Outer Banks as a strong Category 3 on Thursday, although shifts in the track are possible and storm impacts will expand great distances beyond where landfall occurs.”
“I think right now we’re preparing for some flooding, strong wave action and rip tides,” City Council President Anthony Eramo said Tuesday.
In the meantime, the Long Beach Fire Department said it was planning a relief effort for communities in the Carolinas with local organizations after the storm.
“We’re paying it forward, just like everyone did for us after Hurricane Sandy," Fire Chief Joseph Miller told the Herald on Thursday. “We’re going to do something, but we’re waiting to see what happens first. We want to see what they need, where [the storm] hits and where to send things to."