Sandy Neck Board Considers Permanent Solutions Following Brutal Winter

Sandy Neck Beach Parking Lot

BARNSTABLE – Following the string of severe winter storms this year, Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable has been left particularly battered.

Beginning with the early January storm, the barrier beach area along Cape Cod Bay saw significant flooding which damaged the dunes, trail system and gatehouse.

“That one just really caught us off guard,” Coleman said. “I know a lot of cottages out at the cottage colony were considerably flooded – actually higher than the Blizzard of ’78.”

There was also 18 inches of flooding inside the gatehouse.

“It ruined a lot of our equipment. Took out a lot of our files and caused some extensive repairs on the interior of the gatehouse,” Coleman said.

The first March nor’easter was a huge erosion event lasting through multiple tide cycles.

“It took quite a bit of our dune and beach,” Coleman said. “The elevation of the beach is extremely low, which makes us extremely vulnerable.”

The nourished dune in front of the parking lot also took a beating, which is concerning to Coleman.

“About 75 percent of that sacrificial sand was taken from the storm Riley in March,” Coleman said.

Over the last five years, the town has spent nearly $300,000 on beach replenishment efforts, but are now eyeing a more permanent solution.

Beach officials are now considering implementing the recommendations of a years-old study, recommending nearly a dozen long-term coastal resiliency measures.

Among the suggestions in the $150,000 report are moving the paved parking lots and off-road access site further southwest, away from the beach.

The improvements won’t come cheap however, with the initial phase of the project projected to cost $2.5 million and further maintenance to run as high as $5 million more.

The Sandy Neck Board and the Barnstable Town Council will meet later this spring to discuss the report and to consider funding options.

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