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Friday, April 25, 2014

Guest Column
Rebuilding a better boardwalk in Long Beach
By Scott Mandel
Herald file photo
Scott Mandel

It has been just over four months since Superstorm Sandy descended upon our city. In that time, despite suffering the highest storm surge and some of the heaviest damage in New York State, we have come a very long way. Residents are returning home, businesses are re-opening and signs of rebuilding are everywhere. On Wednesday, Feb. 20, the city and Sustainable Long Island held its final boardwalk reconstruction focus group meeting, where residents told us what they would like to see built into the new boardwalk. Based on that input, and advice from experts, we have made firm decisions about the future of our boardwalk.

Based on the information we received from our consulting firm, the LiRo Group, the Department of Public Works and input from residents, we are accepting the recommendations that the boardwalk will be reconstructed using a strong, sustainable tropical hardwood, in conjunction with concrete in the highest trafficked areas. As 88 percent of survey respondents requested, this design is far stronger and more durable than the materials previously used. The new boardwalk will be aesthetically appealing and require significantly less maintenance as the new wooden planks have a 30- to-40-year lifespan, as compared to the 3- to-7-year lifespan of our old boardwalk planks. It will be comfortable for runners, walkers, bicyclists, and families, yet durable and strong enough for emergency and maintenance vehicles.

Now that the final design is in place, the construction is going out to public bid, so work will begin very shortly on constructing the new boardwalk. Once a bid is awarded, there will be an accelerated timeline, with the intention of opening portions of the boardwalk as they become available. We hope to have sections open this summer, with the rest of the boardwalk completed over the course of the year.

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