Parkways to South Shore beaches reopened Thursday

Jones Beach's West End Field 2 was badly Jones Beach's West End Field 2 was badly damaged by superstorm Sandy. (Oct. 31, 2012) Photo Credit: Doug Kuntz

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Parkways on Long Island's South Shore that had restricted access to communities and beaches since damage from superstorm Sandy were reopened Thursday, a spokesman for the New York State Police said.

Also, a section of Jones Beach opened Thursday for the first time since Sandy, said the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

Southbound roadblocks on the Meadowbrook and Wantagh parkways, south of Merrick Road, have been removed and motorists were allowed unrestricted passage beginning at around 2 p.m., said Trooper Frank Bandiero, a public information officer with the State Police.

Ocean Parkway also was reopened between the Meadowbrook and Wantagh parkways, Bandiero said. East of the water tower at Jones Beach, near Parking Field 4, the Ocean Parkway remains closed in both directions, he said.

Originally, the roadways were to be open at noon. However, Department of Transportation workers had to remove barricades, Bandiero said, delaying opening of the Meadowbrook and Wantagh parkways for about two hours.

The northbound Wantagh from Ocean Parkway to Merrick Road is expected to be closed for an undetermined time for cleanup, State Police said.

George Gorman, deputy regional director on Long Island for the state office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said the part of Jones Beach between the Wantagh and Meadowbrook parkways also is open.

People can enter Parking Field 2 to gain beach access, he said. The West End 2 portion of the park also is open. Other than portable toilets, no other facilities are available, Gorman said.

"We know that Long Islanders want to visit the parks and they want to get to the beaches," Gorman said of the reopening of the park, "and we're trying to provide the services that they want."

The Loop Parkway, which allows access to Long Beach, Point Lookout, Lido Beach and Atlantic Beach, also is open, but with restricted overnight access, Bandiero said.

Starting Thursday, between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., only residents will be allowed west of the Loop near the drawbridge, Bandiero said. A checkpoint will be established just west of the drawbridge, near the U-turn, Bandiero said.

The Robert Moses Causeway also is open to the Ocean Parkway, Bandiero said, including the portion of the Ocean Parkway that runs west to Cedar Beach. West of Cedar Beach, the Ocean Parkway will remain closed, he said.

All residents of Oak Beach, Gilgo Beach, West Gilgo Beach and Tobay Beach should use the Robert Moses Causeway to gain access to their residence, State Police said later Thursday in a news release.

Captree State Park also reopens, with restrooms and fishing boats available, Gorman said.

With James T. Madore

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