Lynn Laskos and neighbor Dave Corwin have been through a number of major storms, culminating most recently with Superstorm Sandy.
At the weakest point in the Cove behind Corwin’s shack, there is now only about 10 feet of sandy bluff protecting the major roadway from the Long Island Sound at high tide.
“The bluff eroded away about 10 feet more during this storm,” Corwin said of Sandy. “There’s just not much between gas and water lines and the road — it’s as close as it’s ever been to the county line.”
The vulnerable residential area dodged a bullet yet again with Hurricane Sandy, Laskos said.
“We were bruised but not damaged — others had it 10 times worse than us,” Laskos said. “But we got lucky again.”
The Suffolk County Legislature voted in May of 2011 to appropriate $100,000 to plan and design protection for County Road 48 in the Hashamomuck Cove area. The initiative was spearheaded by then-Suffolk County Legislator Ed Romaine. And Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced after Sandy that funds had been earmarked to finance a feasibility study of the area before work can begin.
Laskos said at the time that she was happy for the funding but said she’d rather see shovels than another study.
Laskos is head of the Hashamomuck Cove advocacy group and a member of SoutholdVoice, a local group of property owners and business people concerned about the shoreline.
Though Route 48 was not breached during Hurricane Sandy, if the water broke through, there would have been no way to evacuate portions of the North Fork — including Eastern Long Island Hospital — with a large section of Route 25 also underwater.
Laskos has been calling for a long-term solution in the area for years after what was her parents' home at the time washed away in 1994. She and other local representatives held a press conference accusing state officials of dragging their heels in funding a feasibility study which would look into preserving four shoreline areas in Southold.
“On a good day,” Laskos said, the water rises on the beach, bringing it only 12 feet from County Road 48. “If we have one more storm, that road is going,” she said. “Our homes are now the only buffer to County Road 48.”
Should Route 48 become compromised and impassable, gas service and water mains could rupture due to erosion and crashing debris, Laskos said. “That means the last eleven miles of Long Island will have no gas and no water.”
Other critical concerns include difficulties for emergency vehicles, which would have to detour and lose valuable time; a lack of access to services; and police and fire departments that would be unable to respond.
Other potential impacts, Laskos said, could mean seniors being stranded and left with no access to services.
Laskos has become a voice for her neighbors, sounding the call for action about a situation that grows more critical with every passing storm. And, she added, damage is far less expensive to mitigate now, before further erosion ensues, and before Route 48 is wiped out by a fierce storm. “Time is of the essence,” she said.
Are you afraid of a breach at Hashamomuck Cove onto Route 48 in Southold?