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State: Ocean Parkway repair work on schedule

Standing on the damaged Robert Moses State Park

Standing on the damaged Robert Moses State Park traffic circle, state Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald shakes hands this past month with grade checker Billy Tynan. With them is chief engineer Phillip Eng. Road repair crews are facing a deadline. (March 15, 2013) Credit: Steve Pfost

The Ocean Parkway repair job is on schedule for completion by Memorial Day weekend, state officials visiting from Albany declared Friday.

State Department of Transportation Commissioner Joan McDonald and State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey toured the restoration project that includes rebuilding a five-mile stretch of dunes along Jones, Gilgo and Tobay beaches devastated by superstorm Sandy and reconstructing portions of the parkway and the Robert Moses traffic circle damaged Oct. 29.

This week, subcontractor Norfolk Dredging, of Chesapeake Va., completed dredging of the sand for the rebuilding of dunes to the west of Fire Island Inlet and next week dredging operations will deliver sand to the area in front of the Robert Moses traffic circle.

Meanwhile, work has already begun to rip up the damaged pavement and repairs are being made to the damaged sub-base of the road to prepare for new paving once the weather warms to a consistent 40 degrees -- the minimum temperature at which concrete can be poured.

In addition, workers have begun planting between 25,000 to 30,000 plugs a day of beach grass along the newly fashioned dunes being gradually rebuilt from the West Gilgo end of the damaged strip to the east.

McDonald, who spent time on Long Island soon after Sandy and again during last month's blizzard, said seeing the damage to the parkway wrought Oct. 29 left a lasting impression.

"Never before did I realize what a barrier island means until I saw this devastation," she said.

Both commissioners praised the collaborative work of staff -- 10 different federal and state agencies and authorities are involved -- and workers for the tri-venture awarded the reconstruction project, Bove Industries of East Setauket, John P. Picone of Garden City and Tully Construction of Queens.

Having it reopen in time for Memorial Day weekend is important -- not just for the post-Sandy return to normalcy -- but to ensure the economic vitality is not lost, Harvey said.

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