Ready for Jetties?

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 The much-anticipated groin installation is underway here in Rockaway Beach, and it frankly could not come at a better time. Our beloved coastline has been incessantly battered due to coastal storms over the winter. The most recent being Winter Storm Orlena, which transformed the dunes (the community’s first line of defense from coastal erosion and flooding) into sheer cliffs, now making it nearly impossible to access the beach. At high tide, some residents do not even have a beach to access, such as Beach 90th Street.

The remaining “defensive” structures are deteriorating wooden jetties, installed nearly a century ago, which do not provide the defense Rockaway so desperately needs. Luckily, as many of us know, The Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) is in the midst of installing and/or repairing nineteen (19) groins along the Rockaway peninsula. The landscape-changing process will hopefully offer reliable fortification for decades (and generations) to come.

In an effort to get a better understanding of the situation concerning the groin installation, The Rockaway Times reached out to Dan Falt, Project Manager for the United States Army Corps. of Engineers. Falt said, “We will be starting work at the end of Beach 142nd street and the groins at Beach 149th and Beach 145th soon-perhaps this week.”

Although the process has not officially begun in the Neponsit section of Rockaway, the A.C.O.E has in fact started constructing a staging area on Beach 142nd Street. This will serve as the access point for trucks delivering the much-needed boulders used to create the massive groins. This will also (presumably) serve as the central location to monitor vibrations. The ACOE has set up a Seismic Survey Inc. vibration monitor to track any potential environmental impacts.

Although the news has given Rockaway residents some peace of mind, many have questions regarding how the ACOE will manage the rather complex installation. For example, residents want to know: Will the Army Corps be notifying or talking to homeowners in the area about work that will be done there and how/if it may impact their homes? Is there insurance for this job, specifically for homes that may be impacted by this work? Is there a project manager that the homeowners can contact if they have an issue? What is the contact info they can use?

Where will the stones be placed for the work being done in Neponsit as they're working? Where will the crews be accessing the beach for this work? Will they travel along the beach from downtown or Riis or is there another access point they'll be using?" Will machinery be idling on the beach all day? Where will be the nearest access to the beach for beachgoers?

The Rockaway Times forwarded these questions to Falt. He replied: “We routinely update Community Board 14 and meet monthly with elected officials and local civics to “get the word out” about project activities.” In regard to insurance, Falt said, “yes”, there is insurance for this job, specifically for homes that may be impacted by this work. Falt said he is available to provide information as needed. 

“People can always contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if they have questions or concerns regarding the process.” When asked about the placement of stones, Falt said stones will be placed “Near the groins they are working on, or in the staging area located at the end of Beach 142nd.”  When asked how crews will access the beach, Falt replied, “They will be using the end of Beach 142nd for access, and will travel along the beach to each individual construction area.”  Work will be from Monday through Friday from roughly 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. There may be occasional work done on Saturday as well. This schedule will remain in place until further notice.

When asked about the nearest access for beachgoers, Falt replied “There will be access at all street ends, even at B142nd for pedestrians.  There will be about a 500 foot closed area at the end of Beach 142nd, and areas closed around 250 feet on each groin being worked on.  On weekdays, there will be truck traffic back and forth along the beach, so the haul road areas will be blocked off, but pedestrians will be able to cross.”

On Tuesday morning, workers were removing the baffle wall at Beach 142nd Street to allow big machinery to make its way to the beach.

Falt said, “It’s a little like surgery. No one wants surgery but a lot of times it’s worth it.”

 By Daniel Lynch

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