By Connor Beach
The seawall along Asharoken Avenue has developed a large depression on its landward side, according to the Village of Asharoken Mayor Dr. Gregory Letica.
“It has outlived its expected level of protection,” Letica said.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers finished construction of the seawall in 1997, and estimated it would protect the shore from erosion for 15 years, according to Letica.
In addition to the “sinkhole” at the base of the seawall, the wall is severely rusted and unable to support the steel cap that lines the top of the structure, according to Letica. The damage is the result of severe erosion to the beach and large boulders supporting the wall and Asharoken Avenue, he said.
Village officials discovered the damage to the seawall during an inspection of the area in June. Asharoken officials reported the structural problems to the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the USACE in June and again in July.
Letica said he sent a letter directly to Commander of the New York Office of the USACE Col. Thomas Asbery on July 15, and also reached out to Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Huntington), who has also been in contact with USACE.
“Between my letter and the phone call from Congressman Suozzi, the Army Corps of Engineers was very responsive,” Letica said, adding that engineers inspected the seawall on July 27.
USACE has not yet released a full-scale report of the damage, or details regarding the extent of repairs needed to ensure the structural integrity of the seawall.
A statement emailed by a USACE spokesman on Tuesday said the agency is “aware of the situation regarding the Asharoken seawall and is currently working with partners at the local, state and federal level to determine the best path forward.”
Letica said there is no estimated cost for repairs “at this point.”
“In the short term I think the sinkhole needs to be repaired as quickly as possible; in the long term the wall may need to be replaced,” he said. The next step, he added, is to hold a meeting between Huntington, Asharoken, USACE and NYSDEC representatives.