By Bill Parry
City Councilman Donovan Richards joined representatives of several city neighborhoods to break ground on a $31 million project that will bring street and infrastructure improvements along 10 blocks of Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Far Rockaway.
The project will reduce chronic roadway flooding between Beach 49th and Beach 59th Streets, as well as Beach 67th Street and it is scheduled to be complete in summer 2021.
“The tragedy of Superstorm Sandy highlighted the severe infrastructure needs across the Rockaway peninsula and thankfully the de Blasio administration is committed to addressing these issues that impact residents on a daily basis,” Richards said. “This $31 million project will improve drainage, safety and quality of life for residents who live in one of the areas hit the hardest every time it rains in the Rockaways.”
Richards thanked the city agencies that will manage the project while fixing systematic issues that have been ignored in the Rockaways for decades.
The project will upgrade the water distribution system in the area with new mains and storm sewers will be upgraded as well.
“This project will provide the infrastructure that will enable additional housing along a half-mile stretch of Rockaway Boulevard,” NYC Department of Design and Construction Commissioner Lorraine Grillo said. “The project will also help make the infrastructure serving NYCHA’s Ocean Bay housing more resilient, and the road conditions better for pedestrians and drivers alike.”
Streets in the area will be regraded to reduce ponding and then reconstructed with new steel-faced concrete curbs. New street lighting will be installed and the traffic signal at Beach 54th Street will be updated.
“From new sidewalks to fresh roadtops to lighting upgrades, this comprehensive street reconstruction will benefit those residents today and in generations to come,” DOT Queens Borough Commissioner Nicole Garcia said.
The project will also improve fire protection in the area with seven new hydrants added and ten old hydrants replaced with newer models. The FDNY communication system on Rockaway Beach Boulevard will be updated from Beach 49th to Beach 54th Streets.
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr