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Long Beach Officials At Odds With Army Corps Of Engineers Over Completed Shoreline Protection Project

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- After 17-foot waves flooded most of Long Beach during Superstorm Sandy, federal engineers say they have rebuilt and safeguarded the barrier island.

But state and city officials contend that it's not time to celebrate, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday.

After three long years, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced its shoreline protection project from Long Beach to Point Lookout has been completed.

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But some officials insist work isn't finished and are worried newly built jetties could deteriorate and fall into the ocean.

Long Beach
(Photo: CBS2)

"The groins aren't designed properly. There is no foundation under the major stones on the seaward side of the groins. As a result, as the tide moves in and out and washes sand out, these stones are starting to settle," said John Mirando, Long Beach's public works commissioner.

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A private coastal engineering firm hired by Long Beach found that the barrier island remains vulnerable to erosion and flooding in the next big storm. The underwater groins could become malleable -- they way thousands of pounds each -- and may not retain sand.

However, Army Corps officials who McLogan spoke with by phone are defending their project, saying all coastal storm protection features are in place and they are $100 million under budget prior to the June 1 start of hurricane season.

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Crews have spent the past three years building dunes in front of the boardwalk, adding sand to the beach, building four new jetties and rehabilitating 18 rocky jetties.

Lawmakers said don't pop champagne corks yet.

"Too much spent for this not to be a tremendous overall success at the end of the day," state Sen. Todd Kaminsky told CBS2 by phone.

"I have asked my Department of Conservation and Waterways and town of Hempstead engineers to do a final inspection of work performed by the Army Corps of Engineers," Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen added.

Beach goers told McLogan they have mixed emotions.

"Do it right, it's cheaper. Wait, have another storm hit, wipe out Long Beach again. It's going to cost taxpayer four times as much money," resident Sean Hood said.

"I do think that with the initial dredging and the expansion of the beachfront that over the long term the Army Corps of Engineers will do proper job and make sure we have hundreds of years," added former Long Beach lifeguard Charles Davis.

Long Beach and state officials told CBS2 they will not take responsibility for the project until concerns with the newly built jetties are addressed.

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