More than three years after Hurricane Sandy, Long Beach residents have expressed frustration with recent flooding, especially after last week, saying that a number of mitigation and resiliency measures the city is planning for its north side can’t move forward quickly enough.
“I would say the big stuff hasn’t really begun,” said Kevin Reilly, vice president of the North East Bay and Canal Civic Association. “The problem is that the work can’t come soon enough, especially if you’re at the end of the Canal blocks.”
In addition to an Army Corps of Engineers project slated for the city’s beachfront that is expected to begin in the spring, city officials say they are working as fast as possible on large-scale “universal bayside protection” projects whose costs will total $40 million. The city is now in the design phase of a $12.8 million initiative approved by the City Council in October to construct uniform bulkheading along Reynolds Channel — one of the main projects put forward in Sandy’s aftermath by the Long Beach Community Reconstruction Program Planning Committee.
The city selected an engineering firm, Tetra Tech Architects & Engineers, to design the bulkheads following a request for proposals issued last year, and City Manager Jack Schnirman said he expects to hold public input sessions to discuss the project — and the height of the bulkheads — in the next few months.
“We are frustrated just like anyone, and it’s been over three years since Sandy,” City Council Vice President Anthony Eramo said. “But we are in the design phase, and the whole council is proud that we’ve moved the ball much further than ever before in terms of flood protection for the entire city. Flooding has been an issue in Long Beach forever … on each project, we’ve been ahead of the state and federal government with applications and approvals, and we continue to aggressively pursue all that money.”