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Mar 28, 2017 1:37 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Timeline For Old Ponquogue Bridge Fishing Pier Restoration Remains Elusive Because Of Changes

Planned repairs to the old Ponquogue Bridge fishing piers are still being reviewed by FEMA.
Mar 28, 2017 1:56 PM

Though it has been more than four years since Hurricane Sandy battered the remnants of the old Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays—and over a year since the Federal Emergency Management Agency earmarked almost $1.58 million in funds to restore the popular fishing piers—a timeline for the actual work remains elusive.

Christine Fetten, Southampton Town’s director of municipal works, recently explained that the funding for the work—including $530,000 from the town’s capital budget, which has been earmarked for the restoration—has already been lined up. But town officials are still waiting for the federal agency to officially sign off on the much-anticipated restoration project. The $1.58 million FEMA grant, if approved, is expected to cover all of the required repairs, she said.

The issue, Ms. Fetten explained, is that town officials decided in December to modify their original plan—work that had originally called for the complete removal of the northern fishing pier, which was more damaged—so they could save part of that structure, as well as more of the less damaged southern pier. The changes, however, required that the town file a work change request with FEMA, which is financing to bulk of the proposed restoration.

Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone explained recently that the modified plan calls for salvaging and refurbishing both damaged fishing piers without disturbing the marine life in Shinnecock Bay. He added that changes to the plan were made after residents urged the town to save as much of the old wooden bridge as possible.

The 2012 hurricane severely damaged the northern pier, knocking down a section and leaving a portion in the bay disconnected from the land. The updated plan calls for the removal of the disconnected stretch of pier and the restoration of the section that is attached to the land. The northern pier has been closed to the public since the storm.

“The community wanted to preserve as much of the natural environment as possible,” Mr. Zappone said. “This is the town’s attempt to meet those needs.”

Presently, FEMA representatives are working with officials in the State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to create a plan that meets the federal grant requirements, according to Don Caetano, FEMA’s external affairs director.

Mr. Caetano also explained that state and federal officials are still reviewing the updated plans to make sure the work still qualifies for federal funding. It was not clear how long the process would take.

In 2015, the town hired an underwater contractor, CRC Engineering, P.C/Mechanical and Marine Construction, to perform a dive inspection to ascertain the conditions of the wooden pilings that are holding up the fishing piers. The information gathered from that inspection was used by L.K. McLean Associates of Brookhaven to design the suggested repairs.

The town has already secured the necessary regulatory permits from the state, and has the required design documents and blueprints to substantially cut back the more heavily damaged northern fishing pier, Ms. Fetten said. In addition to structural repairs, that work would also have included the installation of new decking and handrails.

The southern fishing pier, which has been deemed structurally sound during an initial analysis that also included an underwater evaluation, is scheduled to receive updates as well, including the replacing of damaged pilings. The work also calls for replacing old decking and handrails with new ones.

“It’s basically refreshing what is there,” Ed Warner, president of the Southampton Town Trustees, said of the pending project. “Making it safer for people to use.”

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Willing to bet if this were in SH Village, the response would've been to make be the repairs and wait to be reimbursed...
By Brandon Quinn (191), Hampton Bays on Mar 29, 17 11:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
Couldn't agree more.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Mar 29, 17 12:22 PM
Please Please not another season looking at that mess,at least put a sign letting our visitors know big plans are in the works.If we had a congressman representing us surely we could some action....we are not tourist friendly.Ms Fetten we expect more from you...get it cleaned up and ready to go.THIS IS HAMPTON BAYS RISING.
By watchdog1 (543), Southampton on Mar 29, 17 5:15 PM
How's that plan for the Coast Guard Museum at the Neptune Beach Club site coming along? I'll note the sign there says Renovation Under Progress. And what about the Sandbar Beach Club and the Hot Dog Beach area? Conscience Point? Camp Tekakwitha? Hmmm, seems like a pattern is developing here.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Mar 29, 17 5:41 PM
This is how hampton bays is treated, such a shame.
By Resident tax (186), Hampton bays ny on Mar 29, 17 5:47 PM
al gore convinced them it would be underwater by now.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Mar 30, 17 8:11 AM
Who cares, I live close by, tear it down. It's just a place for up island visitors to throw trash, drink beers, and leave rusty fishing gear around. Tetanus heaven. Tear it down and save the money for any of the 50 more important common areas for LOCAL residents.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Mar 29, 17 6:16 PM
As shore bound resident angler, I fish there all the time! I would miss the pier being restored. I also have not found much around in the way of rusty fishing gear and trash! The porti-potty usually is pretty shitty though, I must admit! Why is it Florida can provide numberous fishing piers, on both coast... But we cannot build and maintain a pier on Shinnecock Bay? High "non-resident" parking fees should be in place to keep this area respectful...and for the residents.
By MartinCroke (1), on Apr 4, 17 5:23 PM
Have you been to Ponquogue Beach? Parking there in the summer requires a paid sticker from local taxpayers AND an expensive parking sticker for non-residents and hasn't had a decent bathroom in 20 years. Or Hot Dog Beach where there are no bathrooms? or the "African American Museum" that used to be a fun, privately owned, party beach? Or the "comfort station" challenged Good Ground Park? For a town full of plumbers and their undocumented helpers who make $12/hour we seem to have a problem with ...more
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Apr 5, 17 12:15 PM
Remove the monument to the lazy engineers who just left it there.
By even flow (1023), East Hampton on Mar 30, 17 8:10 AM
They asked the local government at the time if we would like it removed, some one stupidly thought it would be nice as a fishing pier, and would never require maintenance or garbage disposal.

Some things never change.
By dfree (818), hampton bays on Mar 30, 17 12:05 PM
This is the Town government of excuses. Dfree - great comment above about the Town facilities being "comfort station challenged". I guess they take too much planning and don't come with a photo op or ribbon cutting so the Town government doesn't consider them a priority. I think it would have been very appropriate if ATH's photo op was in front of a comfort station in Good Ground Park considering the way she treated Hampton Bays during her term as Town Supervisor.
By HB Proud (889), Hampton Bays on Apr 5, 17 12:54 PM
The north side of the old bridge should be removed and used to rebuild the fishing reef 2 miles outside the inlet. The south side of the old bridge should be repaired and used as a fishing pier.
By Ernie (88), Hampton Bays on Apr 5, 17 4:03 PM