Rockaway Park Beaches Face Interruption by USACE Work

 Rockaway Park Beaches Face Interruption by USACE Work

By Katie McFadden

We all enjoy using the beach while we can, but after Hurricane Sandy devastated the peninsula in 2012, some work was in order to make sure we can continue using the beach in the future. That means some temporary closures are still in order as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and its contractors continue their work to protect the beach side of the peninsula.

Since 2018, USACE and its contractors have been working on things like sand replenishment, the creation and rehabilitation of groins (locally called jetties) and the creation of a reinforced dune to try to prevent future damage from storm surges. With work taking place year-round, the projects have impacted different parts of the beach at different times and this time, it’s Rockaway Park beaches that will see disruptions in summer 2024.

USACE has accomplished a lot so far. Some may notice some new rock structures in the ocean on a lot more beaches.  As part of their work, since early 2021, USACE, with contractor H&L Contracting LLC, has built 14 new groins along the beach and refurbished five others that were already in place. Lucky for us, that phase of the project was officially completed on March 25 of this year. That means that this summer, there is a “50 percent reduction in construction activity for the beach season,” according to USACE spokesperson James D’Ambrosio.

The work on building the reinforced dune continues. However, the contractor, Michels is making good progress in Phase 2. This work entails demolishing the original sand dunes, installing sheet pile and an armor stone core, and covering that with sand, and finally, installing dune plantings to help hold the sand in place. Michels has already completed the reinforced dune from Beach 9th Street to Beach 17th Street; Beach 62nd Street to Beach 109th Street; and Beach 126th Street to Beach 149th Street. Planting activities are taking place from Beach 126th Street moving West to Beach 149th Street.

This late spring through the summer, the contractor is working on the reinforced dune between Beach 106th Street to Beach 126th Street. The staging area will remain at Beach 116th Street. All work taking place is on the dune side of the beach and there will be a haul road between the staging area and the various areas being worked on, for the contractor to transport materials and equipment.

This means there will be some interruptions in this area, but a small stretch will be impacted. According to NYC Parks, the shoreline between Beach 116th Street and Beach 126th Street will only be partially accessible, with no swimming permitted, meaning no lifeguards in this area. Interim access will be available around active construction areas every few blocks. However, unlike last year, beaches west of Beach 126th Street will be open this summer. Additionally, beaches east of Beach 114th Street will be open this summer. The surfing beach from Beach 110th to Beach 112th Street will be open for surfing.

Due to an ongoing citywide lifeguard shortage and budget cuts, the beach in general may see some red flags, with other beaches closed to swimming. NYC Parks anticipates being able to open half to two-thirds of available blocks for swimming dependent upon lifeguard staffing, with the goal of opening a whole bay between groins for swimming (or no-swimming) in order to maximize lifeguard efficiency. Look out for red flags to know if your beach is closed that day.

Please note, all of the USACE work is subject to change as weather can cause delays. NYC Parks may provide updates on any possible beach closures while work is ongoing. When beaches officially open for the season on Saturday, May 25, those updates can be found at:

In addition to the ongoing reinforced dune work, USACE will begin construction of the crossovers for ADA handicap access in the future and will remove the old wooden jetty pieces that may be remaining near the shoreline. No additional sand replenishment is currently scheduled. The entire project is expected to be complete by late 2026.

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