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Sunday, April 20, 2014

South Shore Rising
Officials: Jones Beach is on the road to recovery
State pumping $32.2M into post-Sandy restoration project
By Brian Racow, bracow@liherald.com
Scott Brinton/Herald
The state is using massive dump trucks to unload 800,000 cubic yards of sand to build dunes along the Ocean Parkway.

Repair crews are hurrying to repair the damage that Hurricane Sandy inflicted on the beaches and parkways of Jones Beach Island and Robert Moses State Park, state officials say. A $32.2 million restoration project is scheduled to be finished before Memorial Day, the traditional start of the summer beach season.

Hurricane Sandy eroded beaches and leveled the formerly grass-covered dunes on the south side of Ocean Parkway for miles east of the Jones Beach water tower, especially along the stretch between Jones Beach and Gilgo state parks. The hurricane also collapsed sections of the Ocean Parkway, which was closed for a month after the storm.

Ocean Parkway is still not open to normal traffic. The eastbound lanes are closed from just east of Jones Beach’s Field 6 parking lot to Captree State Park on the island’s east end. The westbound side of the parkway is closed between the Wantagh and Meadowbrook state parkways for a renovation project that was scheduled before Hurricane Sandy.

The New York State Department of Transportation, the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are collaborating with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Federal Highway Administration, as well as private contractors hired by the state, to replace a two-mile-long segment of Ocean Parkway near Gilgo Beach and five miles of sand dunes on the parkway’s south side, according to state officials who spoke at a news conference at Jones Beach last Friday.

Officials said that the Robert Moses State Park traffic circle, connecting the Robert Moses Causeway to Fire Island, would also be repaired.

“Robert Moses is watching us,” said Assemblyman David McDonough, a Republican from North Merrick, referring to the legendary builder and former president of the Long Island State Park Commission. “He’s saying, ‘I built it. You’d better take care of it.’”

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