Normal Beach Access to Resume in Rockaway for July 4 Weekend

By Katie Honan on July 2, 2014 6:43am 

 A boy plays in the waves at Rockaway Beach last July during a heat wave. Normal beach access resumes for the Fourth of July weekend after weeks of sporadic closures. 
A boy plays in the waves at Rockaway Beach last July during a heat wave. Normal beach access resumes for the Fourth of July weekend after weeks of sporadic closures. 
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Andrew Burton/Getty Images

ROCKAWAY BEACH  Normal beach access will return in time for Fourth of July weekend, if not before, after miles of shoreline were closed over the past few weekends amid a massive sand replenishment project, the Parks Department said.

The summer-work portion of the project that's aimed at restoring the beaches after Hurricane Sandy has ended and will no longer interfere with ocean access — and all of the swimming beaches will be staffed for the first time this summer. 

"We anticipate that the work will be completed this week from Beach 60th Street to Beach 149th Street, allowing beaches in that area to resume normal operations this weekend," a Parks Department spokesman said. Swimming will be permitted from Beach 9th to Beach 19th streets.

Beach 38th to Beach 56th streets will be completely closed because of the piping plover nesting season, which is protected under federal law and is closed every summer.

The birds will also limit access from Beach 19th to Beach 27th streets, although there is an access point on Beach 21st Street, according to the Parks Department.

The second phase of sand replenishment project is expected to pump a total of 3 million cubic-yards of sand onto the peninsula. Work in the "bird zone" will resume in the fall once the plovers' hatching season ends in September, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The 2014 beach season opened Memorial Day weekend, but there was limited access and large sand walls as a result of the project, and beach closures had persisted throughout June.

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