Rockaway Beach restortation enters second phase a decade after destruction from Superstorm Sandy

Friday, October 28, 2022
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The restoration project has been delayed for years, but part two of the federally funded project is now underway. N.J. Burkett has the story.

ROCKAWAYS, Queens (WABC) -- The Army Corps of Engineers is pumping sand up onto the beach through enormous iron pipes from three miles offshore, building a wider beach to protect the homes and businesses of The Rockaways.

And there are now dunes to hold back the Atlantic Ocean. The boardwalk, once cracked and splintered, is now cement.

All of it built to withstand the next storm and the storms that follow.

"The Army Corps pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into this community to make sure in the event of another hurricane that we can actually survive," Donovan Richards, Queens Borough President, said.

Richards says the beach restoration is a marvel of civil engineering, but he has reservations.

"Now you asked me how confident I am, I'm not 100% confident because we still have the bay and the bay right now is still relatively open and untouched," he explained.

Jamaica Bay borders the Rockaway Peninsula on the north.

Ten years ago, water from the bay poured into the communities here and, combined with water from the ocean, left widespread flooding and destruction.

ALSO READ | Eyewitness News special: Sandy 10 years later

But while the south facing beaches have been meticulously restored and reinforced, nothing has been done along the bay side. And residents are worried.

"I love the work they're doing on the ocean. Don't get me wrong. But the problem is not only on the ocean. If you don't protect the bay, that water is going to come around," Harishand Ramsaran said.

"Where it leaves me is worried about losing my house or my backyard falling into the bay. That's where it leaves me. The whole area. It's just, do what you said," Robert Danny said.

The Army Corps held a ceremony on Friday to commemorate the anniversary and to celebrate their achievements, but also admitted that work on the bay side will not begin for another three years.

"So the timeframe now is we're looking at potentially 2025. We'll see the first contract of actual execution on the bayside features," Col Matthew Luzzatto, Army Corps of Engineers, said.

WATCH: Eyewitness News Town Hall | Superstorm Sandy: 10 years later

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