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Fire Island beaches to partially ban vehicles for dune stabilization

Off-road driving will be off limits on some Fire Island beaches during a dune stabilization project that is expected to last into early next year, officials said.

Vehicles will be banned on beaches from Kismet east to Robbins Rest, Fire Island National Seashore Superintendent Chris Soller said in a news release. Drivers must instead use an interior route east of Fire Island Lighthouse, he said.

Beach closures are necessary for completion of the second phase of the Fire Island to Moriches Inlet Stabilization Project, Soller said. The project includes placing about 1 million cubic yards of sand to build dunes and berms from Robert Moses State Park through Saltaire.

Beach access for pedestrians will be allowed outside designated work zones, Soller said. Off-road permit holders may call the National Park Service at 631-661-2556 for updates on beach driving closures on the west end of the national seashore.

Information on off-road permits may be obtained at the National Park Service website,

Officials also have announced that dredging has begun to improve marinas and docks at Sailors Haven and Watch Hill that were damaged by superstorm Sandy in October 2012.

The $2.9 million project, largely financed by Sandy relief aid, is intended to restore navigation channels at the Fire Island communities. Channels will be 100 feet wide and 6 feet deep at mean low tide when the project is completed this month, officials said.

Sandy had caused sediment to accumulate in the channels, reducing their depth and width. Dredging began last year but was not completed last winter, as expected, because of severe winter storms and icing on the Great South Bay, officials said.

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