ROCKAWAY BEACH — Construction on the first phase of the multimillion dollar Rockaway Beach boardwalk project began Monday, more than a year after it was partially destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, city officials said.
The first phase of the $274 million project began on Beach 86th Street with the removal of some concrete pilings that had held up the historic boardwalk for decades, according to a Parks Department spokesman.
Crews will remove the pilings — which officials had determined in December couldn't hold the new boardwalk, further delaying it — and rebuild the thoroughfare on steel beams instead.
Years of exposure to salt water had gotten into the concrete, officials said, and began to corrode the steel inside.
The first phase of the project runs from Beach 86th Street to Beach 97th Street and is expected to be completed by Memorial Day 2015, the Parks Department said.
Construction crews will work Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. and there will be some work on Saturdays in case of rain or inclement weather, a Parks Department spokesman said.
Sunbathers and surfers won't be impacted by the construction, however.
"As the boardwalk construction project will occur landward, we don't expect the beach to be closed," said spokesman Zachary Feder.
A three-mile section of the boardwalk in Far Rockaway is also delayed due to piping plovers, a federally protected bird that nests along the beach.