Rockport: Long Beach seawall stabilization enters second phase

PAUL BILODEAU/Staff file photo. Rockport is seeking 8,000 cubic yards of sand that will be laid atop currently exposed support stones put in place this spring to stabilize the seawall at Long Beach

ROCKPORT — The town's Department of Public Works is looking for sand — and lots of it — now that a new sidewalk and support stones are in place along the Long Beach seawall.

For the project's second phase, around 8,000 cubic yards of sand will be laid atop the currently exposed support stones. The town is accepting bids from contractors through Sept. 26 to procure, transport and place the sand. If all goes according to plan, DPW Chief Joe Parisi said phase two could begin in November.

The seawall, built in 1938, is deteriorating at a rapid pace, officials say, and its constant repairs are a drain on town expenses. In March 2018, portions of the wall were knocked forward by a harsh storm, causing sections of the sidewalk above to cave in. This March, K&R Construction Co. of Boxford finished laying down 2,500 tons of stone to keep the weaker portions of the wall upright. In July, replacement of all 3,000 feet of concrete sidewalk above the seawall with 6-foot stone dust pathways was completed. 

Last year, the town's Long Beach Infrastructure Committee determined the seawall has lived out its usefulness and a brand-new wall would be the cheapest way to keep the estimated $75 million of town-owned land beyond it protected.

The restabilization project is expected to keep the wall secure until 2025. Until then, the town will continue to plan to rebuild some sections. 

"The design of the repairs are substantially complete," Parisi said. "I will be submitting a project scope of work and cost estimate to FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) shortly that contains the cost to repair the damaged areas of the seawall caused by the March 2018 winter storm. It looks like we should have some form of project approval within a month of so from now." 

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or mcronin@gloucestertimes.com.

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