Sunday, December 2, 2012

Boardwalk reconstruction: wood vs. concrete

From the NY Post:

It’s going to be a lot harder to lumber along a rebuilt Rockaways boardwalk if Mayor Bloomberg has his way.

With most of the 5.5-mile walkway reduced to rubble by Hurricane Sandy, the mayor says it’s time to end the fierce debate over whether to switch from wood to a more durable concrete at all city beaches.

“I guess this settles the issue of wooden boardwalks versus concrete boardwalks,” Bloomberg declared during a visit to the offices of The Wave, the 119-year-old local newspaper.

“There will be no more wooden boardwalks in Rockaway or anywhere else.”

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall was quickly on board.

“It makes a lot of sense after seeing first hand the damage Sandy did to the Rockaway boardwalk,” she said.

“I understand that the boardwalk represents tradition, nostalgia and happy memories, but concrete makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons. The concrete portion of our boardwalk withstood Sandy’s fury and held, sustaining some cracks.”

But John Cori, of the civic group Friends of Rockaway Beach, said the mayor has a tin ear when it comes to community input and called on the city to let residents decide.

Cori said the placement of protective jetties determined which sections of the beach survived, not the composition of the walkway.

“There’s no settlement of the argument that concrete is going to stand up better than wood,” Cori insisted.

“When there were no rock jetties, the boardwalk was 100 percent removed from its foundation. When there was, the small concrete section maintained itself in position.”

Above are 2 sections of boardwalk right next to each other that were destroyed. The concrete is on the left, wood on the right. Here are more photos from A Walk in the Park:

Does it look like the concrete held up better with "just a few cracks?" It seems more like neither the wood nor the concrete was fastened strong enough to withstand the tidal surge.


Anonymous said...

Groove the concrete and tint it to look similar to wood.........

Anonymous said...

There is no easy answer for this. Whatever is done, it should alo act as a storm surge barrier.

Anonymous said...

Anon No. 2:

Cape May, NJ does that.

Anonymous said...

Take a look at what happened to Ocean Parkway and the traffic circle at Robert Moses Park (both in Suffolk County) if you want to see how well pavement holds up to the storm. (Hint: It doesn't; once it's undercut by the ocean, it collapses just like wood, and is more difficult to dispose of.)

rhondavw said...

We have been working on a concrete composite wood decked boardwalk design that would have survived Sandy.

The wood was not problem. The wood decking remained attached to the wood joists as can be seen with complete intact sections of boardwalk washed off the substructure. The joist to substructure connection was the problem and it also looks like the concrete boardwalk planks were not adequately attached to the substructure either as they were also moved.

Paul said...

Actually it looks like concrete did a lot better. Can just be lifted back into place. Probably was designed that way to fail-safe. Smart move on the mayors part, we're not just rebuilding but improving to deal with today.

Anonymous said...

Concrete has no give, is hard on bare or sandaled feet, gets very hot in the sun, is hideous and has no grooves for sand and water to escape. Plus it's ugly and goes against the tradition of beach life. No way. Bloomberg just doesn't get it.