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Boardwalk Demolition Expected to Be Emotional

Removal of the 2.2-mile structure scheduled to take a month.

The post-Sandy scene at Neptune Boulevard boardwalk on Thursday. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
The post-Sandy scene at Neptune Boulevard boardwalk on Thursday. (Credit: Joseph Kellard)
Story by Jeff Lipton.

Saturday is expected to be an emotional day for many residents as contractors begin demolition of the landmark Long Beach boardwalk that was battered during Hurricane Sandy.

The city’s public works department will block off all entryways to the demolished boardwalk, barring residents from entering the construction site, said city spokesman Gordon Tepper.

“It is important for our residents to know that it is a construction site and not safe for someone to go on the boardwalk at all,” Tepper said.

Police officers will also be stationed around the construction site to prevent any trespassing, Tepper said.

While work crews started to dismantle the boardwalk Thursday morning, a demolition ceremony is set for Saturady at 11 a.m. at Grand Boulevard, as dignitaries and residents have been invited to attend in a proper sendoff to the 2.2-mile structure.

“The ceremony will be very emotional to many people,” said Tepper, a lifelong resident of Long Beach. “There are a ton of memories on that boardwalk. That’s why the theme is ‘Saying good-bye to an old friend.’

“It’s been a great part of our lives as long as we can remember,” he added.

City officials said the removal of the entire boardwalk will take 30 days and Thomas Novelli Contracting of Farmingdale has been awarded the $1.4 million job.

The city will store the 722 memorial benches, only a handful of which failed to survive the storm surge. The goal is to put the benches back in the same place once a new boardwalk is built. The city will replace those benches that did not make it through Sandy, said Tepper.

The entire boardwalk restoration project is expected to cost about $25 million, which the city said will be picked up by FEMA and the remainder by insurance.

City officials said they hope the new boardwalk will be ready in time for the summer season.

City Councilman John McLaughlin has suggested rebuilding a new boardwalk with stamped concrete, which is more durable and can be designed to resemble wood.

“I have always felt a stamped concrete boardwalk is the way to go,” McLaughlin said. “You can stamp any design you want to make it look like wood and you can color it the same. One of the great things about it is that it’s made of recycled materials.”

McLaughlin said the stamped concrete boardwalk would have a 70-year lifespan without much maintenance.

“When I first suggested it to people, they thought I was crazy,” he said. “But if you take a look at what happened in the Rockaways, the concrete portion is the only thing that survived. Of course, there will be some who will complain that it doesn’t give and we’ll have to look at the alternatives. This decision will not just affect us, but it will affect the next generation.”
Eddie January 06, 2013 at 09:20 PM
The RFP has not been published. It may be secret, published in an out of town paper. Our firm knows nothing about it but we'll prepare a suit it it's not above board. The spans were designed to be 15'. The bents are perhaps 16-1/2" oc. some are more, some less depending on how straight the piles were jetted into the sand.. The beams are 18 foot beams that overlap side by side as shown in my 1938 construction photo. They were long to provide for uneven spacing of the piles. That's from memory. The drawings are at the office and I'll check tomorrow.
RhondaVW January 06, 2013 at 10:59 PM
Thanks for the info. I'm assuming by "memory" you don't mean from 1937. FYI from the article: "Friday was the deadline for proposals from engineering firms to design a new boardwalk. the bids will be reviewed this week, said City manager Jack Schnirman. Once a design is chosen, officials plan to solicit construction bids, he said."............Also when i was asking about what a concrete decking would be installed on I was asking generally as a concrete deck was never going to fly here so we didn't even look into it. As a consequence i don't know what the support system would look like for concrete decking.
mike spillane January 07, 2013 at 10:15 AM
can someone or group take the old wood boards and do something with them ?-if someone would say turn them into a chair or stool they could be sold with the money raised used for some good reason-I would buy any items made -i bet many others would as well
Beachguy January 07, 2013 at 08:15 PM
Thank you Rhonda and Eddie but I got quite lost in the technical stuff. Will our pols and the people who make the final decisions be able to understand all of this and make educated choices? TILB after all.if we can get a proper boardwalk that doesn't need constant maintenance I assume we will save a lot of money. Years ago the boardwalk was much like Atlantic City's with a tawdry atmosphere. Then it went to the opposite extreme. Hopefully we can get some tastefully appointed restaurants, snack bars and such. Maybe even A pl ace where you can get a beer.

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