Ocean Parkway reopened Monday morning, four weeks after Superstorm Sandy left parts of the 15-mile roadway impassable between Jones Beach and Robert Moses Causeway.
The speed limit has been reduced to 35 mph and traffic has been diverted to one lane in each direction on the undamaged westbound side for nearly five miles between Cedar Beach and Tobay Beach.
“Reopening the Ocean Parkway is a vital step in the state’s recovery efforts,” said Rose Harvey, commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The closed five-mile eastbound section of the roadway between Tobay and Cedar beaches and the dunes that protected it were severely damaged. One half mile of the road and 1.6 miles of the dunes east of Gilgo Beach were completely destroyed.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo estimated fixing the parkway, dunes and the damaged traffic circle at Robert Moses State Park will cost $35 million. Repairs are expected to be completed by Memorial Day.
The state Department of Transportation is working with the parks department on repair project designs. The state Department of Environmental Conservation is working with the Federal Highway Administration and the Army Corps of Engineers to restore Ocean Parkway to its pre-Sandy condition.
The beaches and dunes along the roadway will likely be rebuilt using sand from the planned dredging of the Fire Island Inlet, which has become too shallow for some commercial and recreational boats.
Field 2 at Jones Beach recently reopened and the popular Field 6 is expected to follow suit this week, although the cleanup is still underway. Robert Moses State Park remains closed but is expected to reopen by Memorial Day.
Ocean Parkway carries nearly 10 million visitors annually to the beaches and parks along Long Island’s southern shoreline, according to the transportation department.
Now that Ocean Parkway is reopen the lone remaining partial closure is the Battery Park Underpass.
“Ocean Parkway not only provides physical access to our beaches, parks and communities, but it is our mental access to building life-long memories with our family and friends,” Harvey said.