LONG BEACH — CSEA members are playing an important role in preventing future flooding and erosion from devastating the City of Long Beach, as it did during Superstorm Sandy.
While a private contractor, hired by the United States Army Corp. of Engineers, builds 15 jetties from Azores Beach to Nevada Beach, our members employed by the city are lending a helping hand by keeping the terrain clean and level, which helps the project to progress without disturbance. The Long Beach jetties are stone structures that help contain sand on the beach.
“The jetties are going to help extend the beach so the water won’t reach the boardwalk,” said CSEA City of Long Beach Unit Treasurer Sean O’Neill. “It’s also a safety feature that prevents beachgoers from drifting as far.”
In addition to making sure the sand on the beach is level, our members must continue to fulfill their normal, daily work responsibilities.
According to O’Neill, the project will continue for the next five to six months, which can include long work hours.
“Usually we’re out here for eight hours, but if they need us longer, we stay,” said O’Neill. “The contractors are out here every day and we’re working every day with them.”
Our members are working in conjunction with five additional unions on the jetties project. Professionalism on all sides has made the project advance seamlessly.
“The key to the success of this project is our ability to work well with the other union workers,” said City of Long Beach Unit member Tommy Canner. “During the spring, we have to start preparing the beach for the upcoming summer activities.”
“There’s no way we could’ve done that amount of work, in addition to maintaining the beach for the jetties if the contractor, Sean and [other city workers]weren’t willing to accommodate our work schedule,” said Canner.
“There’s a lot of coordinating between Tommy and I to keep this beach open, said H & L Contracting Superintendent Sean Murray, “This is the busiest beach that I’ve ever worked on, and we still didn’t have any problems over the summer.”
Even after the jetties are completed, CSEA members’ work will be far from over.
“The next phase of the beach project is the construction of a 10-foot dune, extending from Point Lookout to Atlantic Beach,” said City of Long Beach Unit President John Mooney. “It’s a one to two year-long process.”
The dunes will act as a barrier to protect inland areas from the impact of high winds and waves. CSEA members are happy to help expand on one of Long Beach’s most popular sources of recreation.
“We’re trying to give residents a bigger and better beach,” said O’Neill.
— Wendi Bowie