Posted on April 20, 2022
PLYMOUTH – A $25.2 million infusion of federal money will fund long-overdue repairs to the backbone of Plymouth’s barrier beach and allow the Army Corps of Engineers to rebuild thousands of feet of the stone dike that has stabilized Plymouth’s Long Beach for more than a century.
The work, not scheduled to begin until at least next year, will ensure continued recreational access for the people who throng to the sandy beach each summer, officials said. Perhaps more importantly, the repairs will rescue crumbling sections of the sea wall that provides vital protection for the downtown waterfront.
About 2,350 feet of the dike will be rebuilt near the middle of the 3-mile beach, in the area known as Day Parking. It will extend from just south of Day Parking, where repairs were completed in 1971, to the crossover in the north.
As a result of coastal storms, this section of the dike has been compromised and does not provide protection from washover at high tide. On calm days, water can fill the parking area. During nor’easters, visitors to Stephens Field on the downtown waterfront can look out and see waves crashing over the beach.
The section is home to two summer cottages, which have suffered nature’s fury in recent years. Erosion has exposed the top of a septic system at one of the cottages. New siding on a cottage shed marks the height of the ocean’s surge after recent storms washed directly over the beach and into the harbor.
David Gould, the town’s director of marine and environmental affairs, said federal, state and local officials have been working on the proposal.
Gould said the dike not only protects the beach but safeguards the town’s waterfront and will provide protection against rising sea levels.
“I think it not only protects the long-term access of people to go to the beach, but it will stabilize that portion of the beach and continue to protect downtown Plymouth from storms and damage that occurs every fall, winter and spring,” he said. “It does a lot for natural habitat and recreation, but the storm damage protection for downtown Plymouth is really priceless.”