CONEY ISLAND, N.Y. (Nov. 27, 2012) -- At New York City's iconic Coney Island, sand piles are everywhere.
"It's up to 10-12 feet in some places," said Roddy Locust, a safety and occupational health specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York Recovery Field Office. "The storm just pushed all the sand from the beach onto the streets."
When Hurricane Sandy made landfall here last month, it brought with it a powerful 15-foot storm surge that flooded thousands of homes, tossed aside countless parked cars and left streets clogged with sand.
Residents are now getting some relief, as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and contracted crews work street by street to clear up the mess.
Using loaders and a steady stream of dump trucks, crews have been working 12-hour evening shifts starting at 6:30 p.m., so as to reduce any impacts to local traffic.
To date, the Army Corps has moved an estimated 32,000 cubic yards of sand, the equivalent of roughly 12 Olympic-size swimming pools, out of Coney Island neighborhoods to nearby Jacob Riis Park, a temporary collection site currently used for holding Sandy-related debris.
Last week though, Riis was nearing its capacity for sand placement. In order to avoid any delays to cleanup, the Army Corps decided to establish a temporary storage site, or TSS, at West 15th Street on Coney Island. The site is located directly adjacent to the amusement park, home to such landmarks as Nathan's Hotdogs and the Cyclone rollercoaster. With the street blocked off, the Army Corps has set up a scissor lift in order to scan trucks.
"We're up there logging truck information, date and time a truck arrives, writing down load percentages," said Alex Baldowski, a QA lead for the Army Corps with the Baltimore District.
Army Corps QA's are overseeing all aspects of sand removal at Coney Island, from the crews working in the streets to the trucks arriving at the TSS. Since Saturday, QA's have logged in over 230 trucks carrying an estimated 4,600 cubic yards to the TSS.
Eventually, most of the sand will be returned to area beaches by the city's Department of Environmental Protection, but not before it is inspected for public safety.
For now though, the push is just to get the sand out of streets, so residents can recover.