A ‘Go’ for New Terminal Groin in Holgate

Dec 23, 2018

HOLGATE TERMINAL GROIN UPDATE: I need to update south end folks that the proposed steel-sheet barrier groin, being called a terminal groin, is happening. It will go where the old “Wooden Jetty” wood and stone groin now resides. Work could begin very quickly, as in the first weeks of January. Yes, this coming January, as in a couple/few weeks.

However, with a project like this, technical matters arise, including what the sky is doing, making an exact starting date changeable, though sooner-than-later applies.

It takes a bit of imagination to picture what is going to be done to build this new steel sheet pile groin. It begins with 163 sheets of steel, the cost of which has already been bonded by Long Beach Township. The steel sheets are 22.5 inches wide and, by my figuring, between 38 and 40 feet long.

A vibratory hammer piling machine will drive each steel sheet 30 feet into the sand. Vibratory driving is quieter and much less earth-shaking than heavy-impact pile driving methods.

The tops of driven sheets will extend about 10 feet above the sand line for the first 160 feet and 8 feet above for the last 145 feet, meaning the outer series of sheets would seemingly be 38 feet long, unless the 40-foot sheets are driven a couple feet deeper down.

Now to distances. The steel sheet groin, when all the pieces are snugly set side-by-side, west-to-east – and parallel to the existing “Wooden Jetty” – will extend out to sea for 305 linear feet, pretty much the length of a football field.

The permit also allows for any “movement or rehandling of existing stone” to allow for the driving down of sheets. That, to me, sounds a tad problematic, both for the many folks kinda attached to the old stones and also the company doing the work.

Per the Army Corps permit, when the steel sheet groin is in place, beach replenishment will be allowed from Roosevelt Avenue south-southwest, some 1,250 feet, to the terminal groin. The replenishment sand would taper back immediately southwest of the terminal groin.

The fill sand, approximately 112,150 cubic yards of (likely) locally-mined sand material, would be brought in by truck. It would cover an area of 12.38 acres, of which 7.93 acres would be placed below mean high water line.

As to staging of heavy equipment restriction, as it relates to public access to the Holgate Refuge, I’ll investigate that. However, I’m guessing that 163 40-foot-long steel sheets being trucked in will take some crafty driving skills when being delivered through the modest parking area at the end of the Boulevard.

Then there’s that abrupt left turn that must be made at the far south end of the parking lot. During such deliveries, I could see a shutdown of the parking area, possibly from the project’s get-go. I’m hoping not for buggyists/my sake. Pedestrians can always get onto the refuge area via another nearby street, which I won’t mention by name.

I have some questions about this project, none of which are overly disparaging, per se. The biggest question for a lifelong wave person like myself is what, if any, danger these exposed steel sheets might present to waveriders, should the groin not cover with sand, as theorized. With the replenishment coming immediately after the building of the groin, it might take some erosional time before such a steel sheet exposure takes place. As to who might be the first waverider to impactfully discover that underwater steel sheets have arisen from the sand? Let’s just hope the groin remains sanded under/over.

Might the steel sheet piling groin area be rendered off-limits to waveriders, due to “water hazards”? That’s just me wondering. Surely, any water dangers have already been worked out by experts. Right? Maybe big “surfer-saver” rubber bumpers will be placed on the top of the groin, though hitting anything unlovingly solid while being driven under by a powerful wave …

— Jay Mann

Jay Mann is the author of The Fish Story column, which has extensively covered the Holgate groin story.

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