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January 09, 2013

Finally, Dredge Arrives in Accabonac



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By Kitty Merrill

"I was there when they turned it on for the first time, it was very exciting," East Hampton Town Trustee Clerk Diane McNally said Monday. She and Legislator Jay Schneiderman welcomed a long-awaited dredge to Accabonac Harbor last Friday afternoon. Officials have been waiting for the project, "years and years and years, it seems," McNally said.

The private contractor Gibson & Cushman is undertaking the work, which will target an area from Gardiner's Bay to the channel between Louse Point and Gerard Point, all the way to the town launching ramp. The project includes beach renourishment, with sand used to rebuild Louse Point Beach, which took a beating during Hurricane Sandy.

McNally said Accabonac had become so filled in, there were baymen who could only get out at high tide. Additionally because flushing action was impaired, Accabonac was the last harbor opened to shellfishing after Hurricane Sandy.

The harbor had been dredged only once since the 1990s, McNally reported, but it's the third local harbor dredged this year.

Schneiderman, who is chair of the county legislature's Public Works Committee fought hard to include Accabonac in the county's dredging schedule this year, according to a release from his office. He's been successful in securing funding for three projects in East Hampton in the last two years. Suffolk will carry the $1.14 million cost of the most recent project.

The dredge is operating around the clock, with work slated to be completed by January 15. If weather proves an impediment, McNally said Schneiderman has already started the process of requesting an extension of permits. With balmy temps predicted all week, though, McNally said, "Let's hope we get it done."

Said Schneiderman, "I am pleased to have worked with the East Hampton Town Trustees in opening a navigable channel at Accabonac and look forward to a safe boating season."

kmerrill@indyeastend.com

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