The tight rein on travel for Ortley Beach property owners during re-entry is about to loosen. Toms River Township officials say they'll stop the busing and let private cars into the storm-tossed section commencing with Phase 3 this weekend.

Damage to homes in Ortley Beach (Governor's Office/Tim Larsen)

According to spokesperson Debbie Winogracki, a schedule for beaches north of Lavallette has yet to be determined.

Phase 3 aims to give home owners a chance to spend extended time with contractors and insurance adjusters, prepare their tracts for winter, and collect personal items. However, entry into houses is still on an at-your-own-risk basis.

Access is permitted 8 AM until 3 PM. Roads will be converted to heavy-equipment construction lanes starting around 2 PM each day.

Everyone heading across the bay will be required to display identification such as a driver's license, and proof of ownership such as a utility or tax bill. Anyone taking the trip should be aware that there are no rest rooms or utilities, nor means to flush toilets. However, travel back and forth to the mainland will be allowed.

  • Friday, November 23: Washington Avenue west to Barnegat Bay, Lavallette to Seaside.
  • Saturday, November 24: Washington Avenue east to Route 35 South.
  • Sunday, November 25: Route 35 South east to the oceanfront.

One car per household is admitted, but the number of people is enlarged to include as many as can comforably fit in a car. Small trailers are allowed, but moving vans or large trucks are not. The Tunney Bridge opens at 8 AM each day. Drivers should keep the left lane empty for emergency vehicles.

Insurance adjusters can traverse the bridge to meet customers. Contractors can be on site for jobs already scheduled, not to solicit work. Major construction is not recommended, since it would likely require more than one day to complete.

Anyone trying to reach parts of the island not on the schedule will be turned away, and anyone wandering into unsecured areas will be directed back.

Unsalvageable items should be placed curbside but residents should make every effort to keep the streets clear.

Insurance agents and contractors are required to register with the township. The form and other details about Phase 3 can be found at the Municipal Building in downtown Toms River or at