ROCKAWAY BEACH — More than five miles of beaches will be off-limits this weekend as the Army Corps of Engineers continues its sand replenishment project, the Parks Department announced Friday afternoon.
As the first official weekend of summer arrives, continued work on the Hurricane Sandy recovery project will limit access to the beach and the water while sand gets dredged from the ocean floor and pumped onto the beaches to shore them up.
"We cannot safely allow swimming where the Corps is moving equipment or where access has not yet been created," according to a Parks Department administrator.
Of the eight miles of beach on the Rockaway peninsula, swimmers will have access to Beach 9, 13, 15, 17 and 18 streets; Beach 29 and 30 streets; and Beach 58 and 59 street in Far Rockaway, where lifeguards will be present.
Portions of these beaches are closed due to restrictions to protect the nestings of piping plovers.
The beaches will be closed from Beach 60 up to Beach 114 — more than two miles that includes three boardwalk "islands" rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy. Those areas include seasonal beach restaurants like Caracas Arepas Bar and Low Tide Bar.
There are additional beach closures from Beach 137 in Belle Harbor to Beach 149 in Neponsit, which is the end of Parks Department beaches.
The second stage of sand pumping began in April after months of delays, and is expected to replace around 3.5 million cubic yards of sand lost during the storm, officials said.