Five years after Hurricane Sandy destroyed a protective coastal bulkhead in Point Lookout, Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino watched as town workers replaced sections of the sea wall that were decimated in the Superstorm. At the same time, the Supervisor, who was joined by Senior Councilman Dorothy Goosby, Councilman Anthony D’Esposito, Councilman Dennis Dunne, Sr., Town Clerk Nasrin Ahmad, detailed a $525,000 project cost savings compared to the tab for which the town would have been responsible if private sector contractors were used. The new bulkhead is also being welcomed by local fishers who traverse the sea wall as an access point to a popular area fishing pier.
“Protecting the public and our infrastructure from storm damage, while maintaining our coastal areas for public enjoyment, is an important priority for our government,” said Santino. “We are rebuilding storm-damaged bulkheads along the waterfront in Point Lookout. In addition to safeguarding buildings and other infrastructure, this location is an access point for a popular public fishing pier.”
The town’s “in-house” workforce has already completed over 400 feet of bulkheading on this project, and is now engaged in replacing another 300 feet in the hamlet of Point Lookout. The construction site is along the north shore of the Point Lookout barrier island, commencing west of the Loop Parkway Bridge near the landmark wind turbine. The sea wall fortification which borders Reynolds Channel, continues west from the turbine, running along the northern boundary of the township’s renewable energy park and the Conservation and Waterways Department administration building. The dock work will terminate just east of the local West Marina.
“The area that we are rebuilding abuts important structures and equipment,” stated Goosby. “A renewable energy park, government offices and a marina are all steps away from this protective sea-wall.”
The estimated cost of materials for the project will amount to $315,000, averaging $450 per linear foot. Utilizing an outside (private sector) contractor to perform the work would have cost the town an estimated $1,200 per linear foot, totaling $840,000 for the entire 700-foot project. By executing the bulkhead work with municipal employees, the town will realize a saving of $525,000 or 62.5% compared to private sector pricing.
“I am excited to demonstrate that our team of government workers is delivering a top-quality project while saving taxpayers over half a million dollars,” stated D’Esposito. “We have the best workforce anywhere, and our residents are benefitting from their dedication and hard work,” added Dunne.
The cost for an outside dock building company includes both labor and materials. The cost for the “in-house” town project is only comprised of material costs since there is no incremental cost to the town for the municipal laborers who are performing the work. More specifically, no additional employees were hired to perform this work, and the crew of craftsmen performs a host of other duties at town marinas and conservation facilities when not engaged in dock building.
The materials used to construct the bulkhead are top quality, providing an estimated useful life of over 50 years. The bulkhead sheathing consists of heavy gauge extruded vinyl, which is secured by wooden piles that are vertically oriented. The piles are driven into the bay bottom. Securing the sheathing to the piles are horizontally oriented 8”x8” whalers. Additionally, a “dead man” structure behind the bulkhead sheathing helps provide stability to the bulkhead.
The bulkheading project began in late April. While the first 400 feet are completed, the second phase, comprised of 300 feet of bulkhead, is underway. The town anticipates completion of this phase by mid-winter, depending on weather conditions.
“In Hempstead Town, we are committed to keeping our residents and property safe,” concluded Santino. “At the same time, we are facilitating top-quality recreational enjoyment for fishers, and we are saving taxpayers over $500,000 by building new bulkheads with town workers instead of using private sector dock builders.”