Sands of time: Beaches still down from Irene's punch
Updated 6:15 am, Friday, September 23, 2011
Downed trees and power lines and flooded basements and streets weren't the only calling cards Tropical Storm Irene left in her wake last month.
When the waters receded and the winds calmed, tons of sand piled up on roads and parking areas near Fairfield's beaches, deposited there by the storm surge. In the immediate aftermath, most of the sand was pushed to the side of roads or into parking areas, where it still sits.
"We were focused on the roadways first," Public Works Superintendent Scott Bartlett said this week. The second push was clearing and repairing parks and athletic fields and now town crews will turn their attention to the beaches, he said.
"Right now we're on pace to start working on that within the next week," Bartlett said.
That work will include restoring the displaced sand to beachfronts and cleaning up debris still strewn across some of the beaches, such as part of a dock that washed up at Sasco Beach. The DPW crews also will be putting back lifeguard chairs and barbecue grills tossed around by the storm surge.
But the cleanup isn't all that needs to be done along the waterfront, Bartlett said.
Parts of four seawalls -- at Southport Beach, the lower wharf on Harbor Road, Perry's Green and Pine Creek -- were damaged during the storm.
"Some are just stone, some are stone with a cap," Bartlett said, estimating there is probably more than $100,000 in damages to the seawalls. He said town officials will be awaiting word from FEMA on what will be classified as storm damage so they can apply for federal money to help with rebuilding.
Fiscal Officer Paul Hiller said the town is still putting together the overall list of damage caused by Irene before submitting an aid application to FEMA.