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Restored Orient Beach State Park set to reopen

On March 28,2013, this is the Orient Point

On March 28,2013, this is the Orient Point State Park Beach in Orient Point, Long Island. Credit: Doug Kuntz Doug Kuntz

Orient Beach State Park will reopen Saturday after the state hurried to repair superstorm Sandy damage to the popular North Fork beach before the summer rush, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Thursday.

State workers have rebuilt parts of the 2-mile entrance road, restored the shoreline along Gardiners Bay, and created an 880-foot buffer around the park's building complex using 4,500 cubic feet of sand and gravel.

The park, whose Long Beach is a National Natural Landmark, receives about 350,000 visitors a year, according to the state. It has been closed since the Oct. 29 storm. New York is on track to have at least 30 Long Island state parks open for Memorial Day weekend, Cuomo said in a statement.

"The timely reopening of these parks is especially important as the summer tourism season begins," Cuomo said in a prepared statement.

Work at Orient -- also designated as an Audubon Important Bird Area -- included grading the swimming-area beach, restoring the water treatment facility, and restoring and elevating all the utilities to above the flood zones. The state also replaced 360 feet of wirework containers filled with rock and broken concrete along the shoreline.

State officials had no estimated cost Thursday for repairs. The Island's state beaches and inland parks sustained almost $100 million in damage from superstorm Sandy, officials have said.

Orient Beach State Park, on a 4-mile-long peninsula that juts west into Gardiners Bay, sits just south of Orient Point, at the tip of the North Fork. Four sections of asphalt on the access road had been damaged and the buried utilities were exposed.

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