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City Hires Design Firm to Coach Boardwalk Rebuilding

City manager announces 10-step process to restore seaside walkway.

The demolition of the Long Beach boardwalk continued on Tuesday, as seen from the top of the Allegria Hotel at National Boulevard. (Credit: Karl Tepfer)
The demolition of the Long Beach boardwalk continued on Tuesday, as seen from the top of the Allegria Hotel at National Boulevard. (Credit: Karl Tepfer)

Liro Engineers will coach the City of Long Beach through the boardwalk reconstruction process, City Manager Jack Schnirman announced before the City Council voted to approve a contract with the Syosset-based engineering design firm Tuesday.

The two-mile seaside boardwalk was destroyed beyond repair during Hurricane Sandy in October, and in the fourth of 10 steps to rebuild the structure the city will pay Liro Engineers $565,307 to provide everything from design options to inspection services. The resolution for the contract also calls for public input on rebuilding, a feature that a few residents and officials championed at the council meeting at City Hall.

“People are starving for information and starving to be heard,” said Denis Kelly, a former councilman, who suggested that city officials hold public forums on boardwalk reconstruction as soon as possible.

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Other residents, such as Ray Elmer, who was recently replaced on the Long Beach Zoning Board of Appeals, insisted that a new boardwalk is inseparable from other aspects of post-Sandy rebuilding in Long Beach, including beach restoration and redevelopment of the bay front.

“We have one chance to build this right again,” Elmer said.

But both Council President Scott Mandel and Jim LaCarrubba, the city’s commissioner of public works, were emphatic that Tuesday’s resolution was strictly about retaining an engineer consultant for the boardwalk, and that boardwalk restoration is separate from other mitigation projects the city is working on.  

“This resolution is to select a firm to assist the city with the design options, the ultimate selection of the design, and to help us with specifications to reconstruct the boardwalk,” LaCarrubba said. “It has nothing to do with the Army Corps [of Engineers] project. It has nothing to do with the restoration or replenishment of sand on the beach. It is specific to the boardwalk.”  

The council voted 4-0 on the city’s contract with Liro Engineers, with Councilman Michael Fagen abstaining. Fagen expressed concerns about specific language in the resolution, namely the section that stated the firm “will be responsible for the researching and presenting of the best practice options for the design and materials of the boardwalk, as well as overseeing the eventual construction process …”

When Mandel maintained that the resolution was solely about selecting a firm to assist the city with rebuilding the boardwalk, Fagen read that section of the resolution and sought an explanation about them. The councilman said he abstained from voting because his questions about that section went unanswered.  

Echoing Fagen, resident Eileen Hession said that she interpreted the resolution in the same way that the councilman did. “The way this reads, it looks like they’re involved in every aspect of the boardwalk,” said Hession, who along with Fagen called for public hearings.

LiRo Engineers was one of five firms that bid on the consulting contract and was deemed the “most qualified” to perform the work in Long Beach, according to the resolution. The firm has worked on such projects at the rebuilding of post-9/11 lower Manhattan and the Roosevelt Island Tramway, city officials said.

The new boardwalk is expected to cost about $25 million and city officials have said that they want to rebuild it by summer. Schnirman reported Tuesday that the demolition of the boardwalk is about half completed, and he announced a 10-step process to rebuild the boardwalk, from assessment of damages, to presenting the Federal Emergency Management Agency with a plan, to opening the finished structure. Schnirman said the 10-step plan will be posted on the city’s website.

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paul.d.spellman January 23, 2013 at 08:35 AM
It has been alleged that LIRO is required to present a design to the city within 3 weeks. Will the Public input period be held prior or subsequent to this submission?
delete me January 23, 2013 at 09:58 AM
Perhaps Micheal Fagen should have paid such close attention to the wording of the UNEMPLOYMENT laws as he is scrutinizing that sentence then us taxpayers wouldn't have had our money stolen and he wouldn't be int he middle of a trial facing 7 years in prison.
Me January 23, 2013 at 10:40 AM
Why is this costing $25Million?????????????????? . Since we have no idea of how it is going to be built or from what material how can we have an estimated price tag? . To quote the article: “This resolution is to select a firm to assist the city with the design options, the ultimate selection of the design, and to help us with specifications to reconstruct the boardwalk,” LaCarrubba said. “It has nothing to do with the Army Corps [of Engineers] project. It has nothing to do with the restoration or replenishment of sand on the beach. It is specific to the boardwalk.” . This is just a boardwalk not a flood wall to protect the city. . Seaside is building a new boardwalk for $3.6Mil and expects to be open by Memorial Day , http://www.nj.com/ocean/index.ssf/2013/01/seaside_heights_oks_36m_deal_to_rebuild_boardwalk_by_memorial_day.html . Belmar was building a new one for $6.6Mil until they decided on not using Ipe wood and now owe the contractor $1Mil for damages of backing out. . http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/belmar-new-jersey-boardwalk_n_2439914.html . So why are we planning on spending $25Mil? Are we going to enter into a contract only to back out and owe millions? Or are we going to spend half a million on this study like the city has done before regarding flooding, parking, master plan, Etc., all studies that cost us taxpayers tons of money and went nowhere but onto the shelf with none of the recommendations taken. . Can we please try and reign in this wild speculative spending before we the people of LB get stuck with the bill.
Me January 23, 2013 at 10:49 AM
I stand corrected, I re-read the article about Belmar. It was Ocean city that got stuck with the $1Mil bill in 2007 but the point is still the same. let's get our act togethor. These town on Jersey shore have already started and it is costing a lot less. They might be ready by Memorial Day. We are just starting to "Study" the situation. (Please no MTV, Jersey Shore comments)
RhondaVW January 23, 2013 at 12:19 PM
Hi Me. The Jersey towns that have rushed to rebuild their boardwalks are now scratching their heads trying to come up with ways to fund and build seawalls or other protective measures. In my opinion Long Beach could reuse their existing substructure and incorporate a bulkhead into which would be another line of defense in addition to whatever dune or beach replenishment comes later...........http://tinyurl.com/HCB-Boardwalk
LB Swimmer January 23, 2013 at 01:12 PM
"LaCarrubba said. 'It has nothing to do with the Army Corps [of Engineers] project. It has nothing to do with the restoration or replenishment of sand on the beach. It is specific to the boardwalk.'” Is there any coordination between redevelopment efforts and flood control? Seems like they should go hand-in-hand. Will we be left with patchwork solutions that don't go far enough from protecting us from future super storms?
Me January 23, 2013 at 02:06 PM
Hank, Exactly!!!!!! We could build a new boardwalk and then have to tear it down as part of a likely future project by the Corp or Engineers if it doesn't work with whatever scheme they come up with.
Mr Dunes January 23, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Moriarty last night was all over the place in regards to Dunes. He was praising the planning for covering christmas trees beneath the sand to start Dunes, but than called Mount Sandy a "Dune" ... A Dune Requires Vegetation Mr. Moriarty. The repeated inquiries of retaining walls are infantile. The Only Way you'll Have a beneficial barrier that comes close to the integrity of a Dunes System is if you pour Cement with rebarb and build at a substantial girth. There are NO RETAINING WALLS LEFT STANDING THAT WERE CONSTRUCTED OF CINDER(CONCRETE) BLOCKS Not Part of a Foundation. Look at the Lido Towers to the Boardwalk and west. The Concrete Blocks in addition to being moved, were torpedos and pulverized the homes adjacent to them. I was cleaning up Jones Beach on Saturday with 250 other volunteers, the Dune's system (Though it retained a lot of floating debris) remained intact, as did the structures behind them. I hope that my neighbors in Long Beach act quickly with regards to the Dunes, and wait for more research about the Boardwalk. My point is that Snow has fallen already this season, Starting a mound of sand over dead trees is good prep work for a Dune, but The plant medium can't be cultivated until the surface ground warms. Our tax dollars shouldn't go to vegetation unless they're planted in the appropriate times. Just like our spirited investment shouldn't be invested in the first Boardwalk prospect conjured up by Speedy Gonzales.
jon January 23, 2013 at 05:35 PM
Please keep in mind "ACCESSIBILITY" when designing the 10% grade access ramps...for the elderly pushing their loved ones as well as SAFETY reasons
Jay Gusler January 23, 2013 at 11:32 PM
@ "Me"; The story on the Seaside Heights boardwalk plainly states that it's 1 mile long. Our boardwalk is 2.3 miles long. The story further states that NO ramps or railings are included in that figure. The article does not say how wide the old boardwalk was, or how wide the new one will be. So, why is our boardwalk projected to cost $25M or more when Seaside Heights is doing theirs for $4M? I'd venture to guess that the $25M figure includes railings. I also calculate our boardwalk to be around 626,000 square feet. If you divide the two, you come up with around a $4 per square foot cost. The cheapest decking option (treated lumber) goes for more than $10 a square foot. Accordingly, the boardwalk will cost that $25M easily, and likely much more. If you think there's anything fishy about the boardwalk replacement budget, it should be that it's too low, not too high. Math don't lie.
Trying to Make Sense January 24, 2013 at 08:54 AM
“People are starving for information and starving to be heard,” and it makes sense that the information, a thorough report by engineers that explores all options, including cost/benefit analysis, and corellation to future Army Corps mitigation prospects, comes before all the comments.
JeffR January 24, 2013 at 09:01 AM
RhondaVW: I looked at the HCB pre-stressed concrete beams and they seem very interesting. Thanks for sharing this.
John C January 24, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Jay, Your argument is good, and I agree with the boardwalk being 2.2 miles long by 50 or 60 ft wide. So the total sq ft is approx 626,000 sf of wooded area. My problem is in your math, if you divide $25,000,000 / 626,000 isn't it closer to $40.00 not $4/ ft. ? Also our new boardwalk will need to be ADA compliant as it relates to ramps, toilets, lighting, signage, sound systems, wiring and most importantly union Labor and Federal Govt rules for bid granting is in place in order to construct it. I have 3 questions 1. Why was the boardwalk only insured for $4 million dollars if it requires $25 to rebuild, 2. How many other city assets are under insured? 3. Why not follow the lead of some other smart peoples advice in coastal and estuary management, wtf does a group in Syosset know. The Dutch (original NY settlers) built a billion dollar airport 11 ft. BELOW sea level.....No problem. Long Beach is doomed if we don't think outside the BOX, and get our math right too! I
RhondaVW January 25, 2013 at 05:02 PM
Hi JeffR. Thanks for looking. Their high weight capacity may be overkill for the type of traffic Long Beach allows on the boardwalk but given the possibility that a sea wall might need to be incorporated into the boardwalks design and the fact that they would exceed current flood and wave codes they might be one of the few options out there to replicate the type of sturdy structure Long Beach has enjoyed all these years.
RhondaVW January 25, 2013 at 05:12 PM
Hi John C. I believe the numbers being talked about - specifically the $25 million figure - are for what it would cost to simply reuse the existing concrete substructure system and reinstall wood joists and decking. $40/sqft makes sense there given all the points you make above. The cost to completely replicate the type of concrete substructure LB had would easily be 4x that amount. LB is firtunate that the substructure survived. that said there are still some issues.....
RhondaVW January 25, 2013 at 05:46 PM
For example, pedestrian bridge codes require that any deck wider than 10' has to support a 20,000 lbs vehicle. The engineers hired to come up with a plan are going to have figure out whether the existing 1930's substructure will comply with current codes and maybe even new codes created in response to Sandy.
Elene January 30, 2013 at 10:13 AM
25 Million $ why? I cant imagine unless they are recreating this out of gold. Other communities are restoring damage with a reasonable $ amount. To my understanding, Long Beach is currently in Debt? Please correct me if I am wrong. So if they are in financial hardship, how would they begin to repay this absorbent amount of money.

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