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Nov 14, 2012 9:55 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Will Repave Dune Road Atop Sand Left Behind By Superstorm

Nov 14, 2012 11:02 AM

Amid the millions of dollars in damage meted out locally by Superstorm Sandy, Southampton Town highway crews might have found 1,500 feet of silver lining in the form of a thick blanket of sand deposited by the sea across the barrier island, where Dune Road in Hampton Bays has long flooded on a regular basis.

If engineering assessments give them the go-ahead, highway crews plan to simply leave the sand where it is and rebuild the destroyed section of Dune Road on top of it, raising the roadway by some 2 feet—and, with luck, out of the reach of flood tides.

Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor said that simply building on top of the sand will cost about $120,000, saving the town an estimated $200,000 if that section were to be included as part of a larger project that seeks to raise the entire 5-mile stretch of Dune Road between Quogue Village and the Shinnecock Inlet. It would also free crews from the task of removing the 4-foot-deep blanket of sand now laying across the road. The larger Dune Road project, which seeks to raise the entire 5-mile stretch of roadway between Quogue Village and the inlet, is estimated to cost between $7 million and $9 million.

The large chunks of misplaced asphalt from Dune Road, with the yellow center lines still visible on them, can now be found in nearby marshes, dashing hopes that the stretch of road near Tiana Beach could be bulldozed clear and fairly easily returned to use, as was the case on the similarly buried stretch east of the Ponquogue Bridge.

Since the road was going to have to be repaved, Mr. Gregor said, he figured it would just be better to level the sand now atop of Dune Road and lay the new asphalt on top of it. That section, he added, could be easily incorporated whenever the rest of the road is raised.

“We’re just going to use what Mother Nature gave us,” Mr. Gregor said this week. “The whole road is too low, and at least here we’ll be able to get it up to where we need it now.”

The town plans to lay down a base layer of asphalt over the sand now, making the road passable again, let it settle over the winter and then fully construct the roadway to state requirements in the spring. Mr. Gregor said he hopes to get crews started on the repaving work as soon as this week.

With the complete road-raising project likely at least a year or two in the future, if the town can secure the funding at all, the new section of higher road will have to be connected with the old roadway. Mr. Gregor said that at the western end of the new road, nearest the Quogue Village border, Dune Road is already at about the same level and will make for an easy transition. At the eastern end though, where the old road survived the storm but is now about a 18 inches lower, crews will construct a gradual asphalt slope to the old road level.

Most of Dune Road sits just 2.5 feet above sea level to the east of Quogue. For more than a decade the town has been looking at plans to raise the entire roadway to 3.7 feet above sea level. The additional elevation would not have slowed the towering waves riding Sandy’s 5-foot storm surge ashore, but the town hopes it will raise the road enough to avoid the floods now seen during less severe storms and even some astronomically exaggerated tide cycles.

Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that she was hopeful that state and federal officials may see raising the roadway as the sort of shovel-ready project that would be worthy of some of the recovery funding expected to be available following Sandy’s destruction. She also estimates that the task of raising the entire stretch of road will come with a price tag that’s closer to $9 million.

“We would like the state and feds to look at the whole project as a remediation of some of the problems that come from storms like this,” she said. “We’re hopeful that this could be a silver lining to the whole thing.”

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On top? Will the sand not wash away underneath every time the tide comes in? Talk about deep potholes!
By G (342), Southampton on Nov 14, 12 12:10 PM
umm, If I'm not mistaken Dune Road is already built on sand. DUH!
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Nov 14, 12 12:53 PM
Alex when you get a chance read Matthew chapter 7 verse 26,where it addresses building on sand.
By Etians rd (543), Southampton on Nov 14, 12 1:11 PM
What happens when you add water to sand? You get quicksand! This will be a fun experiment...
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 14, 12 4:14 PM
If this is done won't all of the salt marshes on the south side of Dune Road then die off? There are acres of them. Pipes under the road to still conect them?
By Ziggyq (8), Quogue on Nov 14, 12 5:57 PM
If this is done won't all of the salt marshes on the south side of Dune Road then die off? There are acres of them. Pipes under the road to still conect them?
By Ziggyq (8), Quogue on Nov 14, 12 5:57 PM
Ziggy - pipes are still there (or hopefully are still there). The wetlands on the north side were all connected via pipes so those marshes should be fine. Also, to a certain extent "nature" wants those areas covered in sand to no longer be marsh... it's part of the dune rolling north so if the marsh is lost it's no fault of man (in theory)
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 14, 12 6:40 PM
Ted Alpert, from West Hampton a former Town Board member back in the 1970's, told us he favored restrictions on building on ocean front land, like in the dunes. Today I find an article on the very subject from a professor of Earth Sciences at Duke University in the NYTimes. Ted was the first one I encountered saying the same thing. But of course, my ancestors in SH knew this; they said "The ocean is a bad neighbor." So they built the family home on North Main Street.
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Nov 15, 12 12:33 PM
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