Jones Beach tunnel repair is on schedule

Construction workers rebuild the aging pedestrian tunnel that Construction workers rebuild the aging pedestrian tunnel that runs from Field 4 out to the Jones Beach coastline. (March 28, 2013) Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

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A $2.5 million project to replace the original, 83-year-old pedestrian tunnel under Ocean Parkway to Jones Beach Parking Field 4 is within budget and on time for completion by Memorial Day weekend, officials said.

The work by Farmingdale-based Posillico Civil Inc. involves replacing the entire 160-foot-long concrete box culvert connecting the parking field with the main Jones Beach Park building south of the water tower at the south end of the Wantagh State Parkway.

The job has required closure of the westbound Ocean Parkway west of the water tower as work is carried out on the northern half of the tunnel.

Signs direct westbound motorists to a detour to the Bay Parkway, via the northbound Wantagh. A similar detour will be required for eastbound traffic next month when construction work starts on the tunnel's southern portion.

"The project's moving at a great pace and is currently on schedule," said state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Eileen Peters.

Motorists wishing to avoid delays should avoid the area, because the detour adds about 10 minutes to travel times, she said.

The work requires ripping up the parkway, and excavating and removing the old tunnel culvert in sections. So far, the new precast concrete sections have been set in place for the northern half of the tunnel. After being waterproofed, it will be backfilled and the western section of Ocean Parkway reconstructed over its top.

Once that work is completed, workers will start on the southern half, a job that requires ripping up the eastbound portion of the parkway.

The project is not related to superstorm Sandy. The former tunnel had already deteriorated to such an extent that a portion of the culvert box structure had already been shored up with temporary steel framing to maintain safe access for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

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