Niantic Boardwalk on the rebound after storm damage

EAST LYME, Conn. (WTNH) — Residents in East Lyme are happy to hear the sound of rocks being smashed.

The rock-crushing operation at McCook park is the first step in the long-awaited construction project to rebuild the still storm-damaged half of the Niantic Bay Boardwalk. The stone will be used as fill for the waterfront walkway destroyed by tropical storms Irene and Sandy.

A steel bulkhead and concrete surface will protect it from future damaging waves.

Tracy Kaplan of Uncasville, who spent the day at the Hole in the Wall Beach, says, “I think it will be really nice once it’s eventually done. I mean, it’s been going on for quite a long time and everybody’s just wondering when it’s going to get done.” That day may apparently be coming.

A.J. Fontenberry of East Lyme says, “There were a couple of guys working on, I think, the rocks. Crushing them up stuff like that. That’s about it.” He said he was glad to see some movement.

“I know there are a lot of people who look forward to coming here, say like after work or on their days off, to get some fresh air some exercise,” says Frank DeBartolo of Waterford.

Amtrak finished the eastern half of the boardwalk when it replaced the Niantic River railroad bridge. The town now has $4.9 million in insurance and lawsuit settlements along with FEMA Funds to rebuild the remaining section, which has been fenced off for a few years.

Paul Formica, East Lyme’s first selectman, says, “They’re going to start at the finished end, at the middle there where Amtrak finished, and work their way back to the Hole in the Wall here.”

He goes on to say that the steel will be arriving in September, and depending on the weather, the boardwalk could be finished before the winter or next spring.

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