A $1 million project to rehabilitate the east jetty at the breakwaters of Patchogue River is in full swing, with work needed to be completed by April.

The project is essential to preserving access through the inlet after dredging of the Patchogue River was done over 10 years ago.

Patchogue Mayor Paul Pointieri says the repair is long overdue.

“We didn’t do the things we should have done at the time [of the dredging], which is to have the jetty fixed,” Pontieri told GreaterPatchogue. “It needs to be done before we get into a situation where we have to dredge the river again.”

A village planning document estimated 28,000 cubic yards of sediment were taken from the bottom of the Patchogue River in 2007. The plan also called for future funding to be made available for continued maintenance.

Pointieri said that the jetty, located at Sandspit Park and Marina, was old and worn out, allowing sand to sift through it and back into the inlet.

He said that through talking to boaters and people running the Davis Park Ferry, it was apparent the problem was getting worse.

“It was very obvious,” Pointieri said.

Eventually, just the mouth of Patchogue River will have to be re-dredged to mitigate the infill that occurred before the repair.

Although the jetty is owned by the Town of Brookhaven, Pointieri said the money for the project came to the village from a variety of sources.

Former state Senator Thomas Croci helped secure $600,000 of state capital, Brookhaven Town contributed $300,000, and the Village of Patchogue put up $100,000.

In a statement announcing the funding, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine called the effort to prevent the river from filling in again “critical.”

“We need to get it dredged, and dredging will not work until we get this jetty fixed,” Romaine said.

Pontieri said there are options to re-dredge the mouth of the river. Suffolk County has dredging equipment that can be used to do the job. He also said that the village is looking for a grant to get the work done.

The Department of Environmental Conservation is mandating the jetty work be completed by April 1 because of environmental concerns affecting wildlife in the river.

Chesterfield Associates won the bid to do the repair work. According to its website, the company has over 40 years of experience in marine construction. In the bid accepted by the Village of Patchogue, Chesterfield originally estimated the cost of the project at $941,290.

Pointieri said that Chesterfield recently moved to a location on River Avenue in Patchogue, very near to the construction site, and having a yard in the village is a financial benefit.

“One of the major costs is the set up and staging,” said Pointieri. “It’s a savings that they are so close by.”

Looking south at the Patchogue River jetty work from Sandspit Marina. (Credit: Lon Cohen)