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