190620ind seawall file

The Coastal Resources Management Council is taking public input on plans to build a 350-foot sheetpile seawall within South Kingstown’s right-of-way along Matunuck Beach Road.

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — The Coastal Resources Management Council is taking public input on plans to build a 350-foot sheetpile seawall within South Kingstown’s right-of-way along Matunuck Beach Road.

It’s the second phase of a project designed to protect the road and associated town infrastructure from shoreline erosion, CRMC said in a public notice issued Monday.

Phase one consisted of a 200-foot seawall built immediately to the east of the proposed work site. CRMC approved permits for that work in July 2012, and it was finished last summer.

The proposed work requires both a special exception and a setback variance, both of which the town has applied to receive.

Anyone can view plans of the proposed work at the CRMC office in Wakefield, at 4808 Tower Hill Road, Suite 116. Objectors also may lodge protests against the work, but must attend a CRMC hearing to testify. Requests for a hearing should be made in writing to the CRMC office on or before July 17, CRMC said.

The work is not without controversy.

In 2017, Protect Matunuck, a group of business owners and community members, took to Facebook to describe the effect construction of the 200-foot first phase had on Matunuck Beach Road and the Ocean Mist.

The post alleged a storm caused the ocean to breach Matunuck Beach Road for the first time since Hurricane Sandy in 2012 due to cement block walls and sand dunes having been removed for the town’s construction, leaving the road exposed.

And complications with sheet pile insertion and construction vibrations led Protect Matunuck to say “the project has not gone smoothly.”

Town officials rebutted the claims at the time. Former Town Manager Stephen Alfred said the road is no more exposed than it ever has been, and said people have had a false sense of security with the blocks that were there between the ocean and the road because there has never been a foundation beneath them.

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