Beach-goers seeking some sand and sun this holiday weekend will find the state's storm-ravaged beaches that were hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene in August and the freak snowstorm two months later have largely been repaired. Seawalls have been rebuilt in places and sand replenished, the work helped along by Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.
"Last summer's tropical storm left our shoreline parks with severe beach erosion, washed up storm debris, damaged boardwalks, seawalls and protected areas and it also damaged some of our buildings," she said.
The sea wall around the 911 Memorial at Sherwood Island in Westport was severely damaged by wave action in the two storms, DEEP officials said, but the wall and the access road around it have been rebuilt.
Workers from the New Haven Job Corps program rebuilt the boardwalk at Rocky Neck State Park in Niantic, state officials said, replacing long sections of damaged lumber with 1,000 feet of "Trex" synthetic material.
In its annual Memorial Day travel survey, the auto club forecasts that 500,000 more Americans, a slight 1.2 percent increase, will travel from May 24-28, compared to the 34.3 million travelers last year, AAA spokeswoman Fran Mayko said. The average price of a gallon of gas in Connecticut is $3.96, according to the AAA. That is 26 cents lower than at this time last year.
Fees for seasonal parking passes are not being increased in the state this year, said DEEP Deputy Commissioner Susan Frechette. They remain $67 for residents and $112 for nonresidents.
DEEP is providing a free lifetime park pass to Connecticut veterans with a service-related disability, she said.
About 90 lifeguards have been hired for waterfront areas in 11 state parks, but more certified lifeguards are needed, state officials said.
As always, police will be beefing up drunken-driving checkpoints. National statistics show that 41 percent of traffic fatalities are alcohol-related and almost 60 percent of fatal car crashes occur between Fridays and Mondays.