A punishing storm surge washed out much of Dune Road in Hampton Bays, prompting officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to tour the area on Wednesday morning.
Images obtained by Westhampton-Hampton Bays Patch only show a glimpse of the damage that Hurricane Sandy caused to Dune Road — which, according to environmental consultant Aram Terchunian, consist of close to a dozen overwashes and will undoubtedly require the aid of FEMA for a proper fix.
"I know we have to do the paperwork but I think there is going to be ample evidence for the town, county and even the state to reach the conclusion that this is far beyond their resources," said Terchunian. "I'm very confident we'll be able to reach that conclusion."
Terchunian and Westhampton Dunes Mayor Gary Vegliante were but a few East Enders on a conference call Tuesday afternoon with Rep. Tim Bishop, D-Southampton, and representatives from FEMA, New York State's Office of Emergency Management, the Army Corps of Engineers and Suffolk Fire Rescue and Emergency Services. The call included politicians from around the East End;however, the bulk of the conversation centered around the strip of land that has become impassable in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
FEMA officials said that typically within 72 hours of a disaster, municipalities must provide damage estimates to the organization. Vegliante said, however, that the severity of the storm has not even allowed officials to get completely adequate access to the area.
"The 72 hour deadline is nearly impossible," Vegliante said. "Bridges are not accessible by large equipment yet – we barely got by with four-wheel drive and quads."
Bishop asked for leeway with the deadline and Lynn Canton, FEMA Region II Administrator, said she would get back to Bishop.
According to Southampton Councilman Chris Nuzzi, areas west of the Shinnecock Inlet are flattened with sand extending into the commercial establishments, as well as the commercial dock and the bay.
All buildings appear to be okay, said Nuzzi, but an extensive cleanup of the properties will be necessary.
All along Dune Road is a similar situation, said Nuzzi, depending on the area.
"East of Quogue Village has several feet of sand on it from washovers and is virtually impassable," he said.
And Southampton Trustee Eric Shultz, said that from Ponquogue Beach to the West it appears that about 30 plus feet of dunes have been lost.
Shultz also said that that Bay Constables report that there were breaches near Tiana beach, but the area can't be inspected because dune road is flooded to the west.
"Travel on the beach is a problem since the sand is still not firm," he said.
Terchunian noted on Tuesday's call that the idea of building over the sand that has washed over onto the island should be taken into consideration, touching on a thought that Nuzzi noted in a separate interview - that Dune Road should be raised.
"Removing the sand may be counterproductive," Terchunian said.
Nuzzi added that he hopes the Army Corps and other agencies will be able to address immediate needs, as well as use sand from a schedulded dredge of the Shinnecock Inlet to build the Dune Road beaches back up.
Dune Road, officials said will remain off-limits to residents and the public until all safety concerns are addressed. Police say, there are numerous downed wires and the possibility for gas leaks.
For more local Hurricane Sandy coverage, click here.
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