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Queens Chronicle

New boardwalk to go up starting this year

Birds blamed for three-year timeline; first section to open in May 2015

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Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 10:30 am

Rockaway’s new boardwalk will be concrete, above flood level and include letters that will be seen from the sky.

But it’s not going to be done for three years, in part because protected shorebirds nest along the stretch.

The Parks Department unveiled its plans for the new boardwalk on Jan. 14 in Rockaway. The plan is for an entirely new boardwalk to be built between Beach 19th and Beach 126th streets, including sections east of Beach 86th Street that were not destroyed in Hurricane Sandy in October, 2012. The section west of Beach 86th Street was completely wiped away in the storm.

The new boardwalk will be 40 feet wide and above the 100-year flood level, though it will be at different heights along the length. It will be constructed on steel pillars rather than wood ones.

Included in the plans will be large letters spelling out Rockaway that will be visible from the air, including by passengers on flights coming into and out of JFK Airport.

According to the Parks Department, Phase 1 of the construction will be between Beach 86th and Beach 97th streets, one of the busiest stretches, and will begin this spring. It is slated to be completed by Memorial Day, 2015. Phase 2, which will be built between Beach 97th and Beach 108th streets, will begin in the summer and finish by July 4, 2015. Phase 3, between Beach 108th and Beach 126th streets, will start construction in the fall and be completed by Memorial Day, 2016. Phases 4 and 5, between Beach 60th and Beach 19th streets, will begin in 2015 and 2016 respectively and be completed by Memorial Day, 2017.

Parks says the sections east of Beach 73rd Street — parts of Phases 4 and 5 — can only be constructed between September and April because the work will disrupt the nesting of the piping plover, a protected shorebird that nests on the eastern end of the peninsula, in the spring and summer.

Several Rockaway activists have complained about the Parks Department dragging its feet on rebuilding the boardwalk, especially after it constructed lifeguard shacks last spring without much community input.

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