Atlantic Shorefront Projects Will Strengthen Rockaway Peninsula

The project is expected to cost $366 million and will take four years to complete. On October 29, 2020, on the 8th Anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Colonel Matthew W. Luzzatto announced the Atlantic Shorefront Project. This project will protect communities and strengthen the shoreline along six miles of the Rockaway Peninsula. The Atlantic Shorefront component is the first of two U.S. Army Corp of Engineers major coastal infrastructure projects to strengthen the Rockaway Peninsula.

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the Rockaway Peninsula. More than 1,000 structures along the peninsula were substantially damages or destroyed by the 10-foot storm surge. Moreover, approximately 1.5 million cubic yards of sand was displaced from Rockaway Beach and was either deposited on adjacent communities or washed out to sea. Shortly after Hurricane Sandy to restore the beach, the Army Corp of Engineers placed 3.5 million cubic yards of sand back onto Rockaway Beach to improve resiliency against erosion and coastal flooding.

The first phase of construction of the Atlantic Shorefront Project will include building 14 new stone groin structures and the rehabilitation of five existing groins on the Atlantic Ocean side of the Rockaway Peninsula. The new stone groins will provide stabilization for a re-nourished sand beach and dune and will maintain the protective beach profile. Stone groins are jetty-like structures extending out into the ocean that are intended to trap sand and reduce beach erosion and help maintain a critical natural buffer between the Atlantic Ocean and local communities.

The second phase of construction will include building a reinforced dune system that will strengthen the shoreline against coastal storms which are becoming more frequent and destructive as a result of climate change. These dunes will be constructed with armor stone and steel sheet pile walls at their core. This will reduce wave breaking pressure and limit storm surge inundation and cross-peninsula flooding.

The Atlantic Shorefront project is a joint effort by the City of New York, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The project is being funded by the Federal Government and will cost approximately $366 million and is expected to take four years to complete.

Speaking on the project, Mayor de Blasio said: “eight years ago, Hurricane Sandy devastated our city and our shoreline. We committed to building back stronger than ever, and I am thankful for our federal and state partners for working together to make this critically important project come to life. Together, we are protecting our shorelines and creating a more resilient New York City.”

By: Lynsey Smith (Lynsey is the CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2022.)


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