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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Firm chosen for boardwalk rebuild
Residents call for public input on reconstruction
Kristie Arden/Herald
Long Beach Surfer’s Association President Billy Kupferman urged the council to listen to residents.

With the removal of the storm-battered boardwalk nearly complete, the City Council voted 4-0 at its Jan. 22 meeting to hire an engineering firm to oversee the reconstruction of the iconic structure.

The city entered into a $565,000 agreement with Syosset-based LiRo Engineers Inc., which was selected after the city issued a request for proposals in December for boardwalk designs and specifications. LiRo will determine whether the structure will be built of wood, concrete, a wood/concrete hybrid or a composite material, and manage the eventual construction process. The firm will conduct a structural analysis of the now exposed concrete supports and solicit public input while assisting the city with its bidding process for the reconstruction.

City officials say that discussion of the height and material of the new boardwalk will begin after the condition of the concrete stanchions is assessed.

LiRo was one of five firms that bid on the project, officials said, and was judged to be the most qualified. It has worked on some of the country’s most high-profile projects, officials said, including the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan after 9/11, the No. 7 subway line extension, the High Line and the Roosevelt Island Tramway.

“We’re really lucky to have them,” said Public Works Commissioner Jim LaCarrubba.

The concrete stanchions will be all that is left once the removal of the extensively damaged 2.2-mile boardwalk is completed. City Manager Jack Schnirman and other officials have said that it is the city’s hope to have the boardwalk rebuilt in time for the summer season, and that the project will cost approximately $25 million.

Schnirman outlined a 10-step process that includes assessing the strength of the concrete pilings and a list of reconstruction options. Once it has the firm’s and the public’s input, the city will present its design specifications to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which officials hope will reimburse most of the cost of the project.

Schnirman likened LiRo to the city’s “coach.” “Once someone is actually picked to build the boardwalk,” he said, “[LiRo] will oversee the project.”

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