The entirety of the Ocean Parkway reopened for traffic for the first time in nearly a month along its full length Monday morning with several lane and speed restrictions in place.
The nearly 16-mile long roadway suffered severe damage to portions along the southern-most eastbound lanes during Hurricane Sandy in late October. Photos taken only days after the storm showed entire sections of the parkway collapsed off of sand cliffs where, only a week before, large sand dunes once stood.
"Step by step our state's infrastructure is being restored after the catastrophic destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy," Governor Andrew Cuomo said a statement. "I thank the individuals from the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation who have been working around the clock since Hurricane Sandy to make emergency repairs to the roadway so it could be reopened to motorists as quickly as possible."
Hurricane Sandy destroyed many portions of the parkway and surrounding beaches, including a 1.6 mile stretch near Gilgo Beach where sand dunes just east of the beach were completely obliterated. The governor's office estimates nearly five miles of the roadway suffered severe damage.
Emergency restoration was ordered by the New York State Department of Transportation, which helped prevent any further damage to the roadway during the Nov. 6 nor'easter.
A small portion of the Ocean Parkway reopened two weeks ago stretching from the Captree State Park-area to the Cedar Beach Marina. Anyone wishing to go further had to show identification and proof of residency of the affected to area to awaiting state troopers.
With portions of the roadway still collapsed on the eastbound side of the Ocean Parkway, two-way traffic will take place on the westbound side of the roadway from Cedar Beach to the west of Tobay Beach in a single-lane, down from the usual three lanes of traffic. Eastbound traffic will be directed to the eastbound lanes using an existing median at Cedar Beach.
Speed limits are also in place to prevent any potential traffic jams – vehicles can only go a maximum of 35 miles per hour until further notice.
Robert Moses State Park remains closed to public traffic, but is expected to be reopened by Memorial Day.