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Rockaway Beach To Fully Reopen In Time For The Summer

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - A section of Rockaway Beach that's been closed due to erosion will reopen in time for the summer.

That's welcome news to residents and business owners who had to endure an 11 block closure last summer.

A half-mile stretch of the popular beach between Beach 92nd and Beach 103rd Streets was closed due to the severe erosion.

Work is now complete on a project to move tons of sand where last year there was almost none.

"Reopened for all!" said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

For a community deprived of its favorite feature last summer, there's relief. The beach will be open from end to end.

"The beach was so tiny, and we can go swimming and there's space for us to sit and not sit on top of each other," one resident said.

Last summer was a bummer and bust for nearby businesses when the city closed 11 blocks of oceanfront swimming for safety, amid precipitous erosion. Dunes had been eaten up by a series of storms, starting with Superstorm Sandy. Pedestrian ramps were hovering four feet over the sand below.

Now the ramps meet the beach, which officials say hasn't been this wide since the 1970s.

"Three hundred forty eight thousand cubic yards," said Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "If you put that in a football field, it would be about 20 stories high."

It took a month of round-the-clock sand dredging with $10 million federal and $2 million from the city to replenish the beach, not only for recreation and livelihoods.

"To protect those who live along the shoreline moreso from future storms that will likely come our way," said Maj. Gen. Jeff Milhorn of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Army Corps is building 13 new jetties in a much bigger project to protect six and a half miles of city shoreline in the next three years.

Rockaway Beach and other city beaches officially open for swimming on Memorial Day weekend.

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