Water Will Flow for Beach 116th


After a battle of will, will  there be water, or won’t there, Rockaway businesses can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that water disruptions won’t be a concern during normal business hours near Beach 116th Street. The change comes after Councilman Eric Ulrich sent a letter to the NYC Dept. of Design and Construction (DDC).

In recent weeks, businesses around Beach 116th Street received several notices about daily water shutoffs related to the DDC construction project along Beach Channel Drive. Business owners were given a heads up, only to find that water service wasn’t shut off, but it could be turned off the following day, and a pattern ensued. Business owners became increasingly frustrated, as the threat of water shutoffs would impact most businesses in the area. Thanks to the action of Councilman Ulrich, the threat of water disruptions will likely no longer be a concern.

According to a press release, on October 22, Ulrich wrote a letter to Commissioner Lorraine Grillo urging the DDC to alter work hours for project SANDHW11 along the Beach 116th commercial corridor. After following up with DDC, a representative confirmed the agency obtained the necessary nighttime construction permits and that water service would no longer be disrupted during business hours.

DDC's nighttime construction permits were approved by the Dept. of Transportation's Office of Construction Mitigation and Coordination (DOT OCMC). Water service disruptions along the commercial corridor on Beach 116th Street are now limited to the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. The new nighttime hours went into effect on Halloween - nine days after Ulrich made the written request.

"I am thrilled to announce that our office was able to work with DDC to change the construction hours along the Beach 116th Street business corridor - just in time for the crucial holiday season. This is a huge win for the merchants who have been adversely impacted by these water service disruptions," Councilman Ulrich said. "I applaud DDC for working so quickly to address these concerns. I'd like to thank Commissioner Grillo - and the entire DDC team - for all of their efforts to support our local business owners in Rockaway."

The SANDHW11 project is underway to make crucial street infrastructure upgrades along Beach Channel Drive, between Beach 116th Street and Beach 124th Street. Once complete, the project will repair and replace sewers, water mains, traffic signals and street lighting in an area that sustained significant damage from Superstorm Sandy.

The scope of work necessary to make the planned upgrades required DDC to temporarily close water mains during peak business hours. In his initial outreach letter to Commissioner Grillo, the Councilman vocalized concerns about the daytime water service disruptions, which he said crippled businesses that rely on water service to operate.

"The current daytime work hours severely harm businesses in my district and even threaten their ability to stay in business," Ulrich wrote in his October 22 letter. "In the nearly six years since Super Storm Sandy, the Rockaways have made a tremendous comeback. Businesses are reopening and new businesses are starting. There is a sense of optimism in the air. However, this project threatens that optimism. It's imperative the city do everything possible to help these businesses."

While Ulrich acknowledged DDC must perform this vital infrastructure work - and that some inconveniences cannot be avoided, Councilman Ulrich hoped DDC would offer the affected merchants a resolution before the crucial holiday season.