After $13.4M beach replenishment, closed-off portion of Rockaway Beach set to reopen this summer

Posted On Tue, March 5, 2019 By

Posted On Tue, March 5, 2019 By In Far Rockaway

Photo via Flickr cc

Last summer, 11 blocks of Rockaway Beach were closed due to safety issues from erosion. The decision to shutter the half-mile stretch came just days before the city’s beaches were set to open on Memorial Day weekend. Though the city said at the time that it might take years to get it reopened, a press release this week announces that the beach will reopen in time for this summer season, thanks to a $13.4 million beach replenishment project in which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will dredge 300,000 cubic yards of sand.

A similar beach replenishment project in Norfolk, VA. Via U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/Flickr cc

The section between Beach 91st Street and Beach 102nd Street was closed following a 2017 study on erosion to the Rockaway Beach shoreline. As previously reported, “It found that the dunes were wider than they have been in the last 100 years following a 2014 post-Sandy beach replenishment by the Army Corps of Engineers.” But after last March’s many winter storms, the erosion worsened, leading the city to close the beach, a long-time favorite for many New Yorkers.

In June of last year, after an outcry from residents and local elected officials about the sudden decision, a two-block stretch from Beach 96th to Beach 98th Streets was reopened, according to Curbed. It included a temporary skate ramp, badminton and bocce courts, children’s sand play area, and misting stations. The city also gave businesses at the 97th Street concessions stand a 50 percent discount on their summer rent.

As this week’s press release states, the new plan will “use dredged sand to re-nourish and restore Rockaway beach between Beach 92nd Street and Beach 103rd Street.” The plan is to have the stretch ready by the time all city beaches open on May 25th, though the city notes that “the severity of spring storms” could affect the timeline.

To complete the work, a $10.7 million contract was awarded to Weeks Marine to dredge the sand from the East Rockaway Inlet and replace lost sand on the beach. To avoid any environmental impacts, the Parks Department is contributing $2.7 million to pump the sand two-and-a-half miles farther west.

“Rockaway Beach is a major attraction in the City of New York. It drives the economy of the peninsula and its resiliency is crucial to the residents, businesses and visitors. It is important that it be fully restored in time for this summer,” said Queens Borough President Melinda Katz. “We look forward to the partnership that produced sand to allow our beaches to reopen this summer and the added resiliency benefits that this addition will bring.”

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