Structural Bay Wall Repairs Underway
With $3 million in emergency repairs already completed at select locations along the bay wall where giant sinkholes habitually opened up on the adjacent Beach Channel Drive, a bigger project between Beach 125 and Beach 130 Streets is now underway to ensure the long-term stability of the deteriorating wall.
The repairs were ordered when a study by the New York City Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which is managing the project, concluded that the bay wall had become corroded, leading to the sinkholes. An EDC design consultant recommended that the existing steel sheet pile bulkhead be replaced with a rock revetment wall which is designed to control erosion and protect the adjacent open space and roadway from wave and tidal action.
The current wall is a steel sheet pile driven deep into the sand bed of the bay. A concrete cap and retaining wall, visible from Beach Channel Drive, extends 15-feet high from the pile and gradual water penetration through the concrete has corroded the steel, compromising its structural integrity. According to EDC, the wall was last rehabilitated sometime in the 1960s.
According to the plans, the large grassy, open-spaced area where the section of wall is located will be narrowed by 26 feet under the rehabilitation project and include a new four-foot wide concrete sidewalk along the wall. The environmentally-friendly proposal will add 20,950 square feet of water space and remove approximately 7,600 cubic yards of fill material from tidal wetlands. The $5 million project is expected to be completed by summer 2012.
With funding provided by DOT, EDC also managed the emergency repairs near Beach 131 Street, Beach 138 Street and Beach 142 Street back in March.
The remainder of the bay wall between the Marine Parkway Bridge and the Cross Bay Bridge is under the jurisdiction of several agencies that include DOT, EDC, Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR), Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Education (DOE). DOT, NYCEDC and DOE to date have budgeted for a combined total of more than $40 million in permanent rehabilitations. Moving forward, the DOE will use approximately $9 million over the next three years to make repairs behind Beach Channel High School and $23 million will be used over five years by DOT and EDC to make necessary repairs to the bay wall between Beach 116 and Beach 145 Streets.
Geoff Rawling, president of the Rockaway Artists Alliance, in conjunction with local civics, has recently launched an initiative to beautify the concrete bay wall from Tribute Park to Beach 145 Street with nautical-themed blue painted designs. After hours of hard work, however, they are upset that the recently painted section of bay wall between Beach 125 and Beach 130 Streets will be coming down during the rehabilitation. Rawling told The Wave this week that they plan to repaint the section when the project is complete.
“We knew it [bay wall rehabilitation] was going to happen but didn’t know when,” Rawling said. “We will repaint it and in fact, are planning to continue painting it the entire way to Beach 149 Street.”