Northern Ocean County Beach and Dune rebuild protect goes out to bid
Lavallette -- The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announce a construction project to build up Northern Ocean County's beaches and dunes which is now out to bid.
In Lavallette Thursday, NJ DEP Commissioner Bob Martin called the $150,000,000 project the beach restoration project in New Jersey.
"It's about 11,000,000 cubic yards of sand that will cover 14-miles along the Northern Ocean County coastline from Point Pleasant Beach all the way up to Island Beach State Park," said Martin.
He says the project will help to better protect homes, residents, and infrastructure along this section as well.
While the money for this project arrived early through the federal Sandy appropriation bill, Martin explained, one of the challenges was obtaining permission to enter private coastal property.
"We still have a fair number of holdouts, but we're able to work with a large number of towns, communities, and individuals to be able to get to them to voluntarily give up their easements," said Martin.
Of the 545 easements needed for the project, Martin said they've obtained 349 easements, or about 64-percent, which have been provided voluntarily.
The Army Corps advertised the contract this week and the bid is scheduled to open on October 26. If dredge equipment is available by winter of 2017, the work will begin, according to officials.
Commander Lieutenant Colonel Michael Bliss of the Army Corps Philadelphia District says that a design profile originating in the 1980's outlines the needs for a beach, berm and dune.
"The berm is what breaks up the wave," explains Bliss. "Then the dune acts as the final 'fail safe' to keep the slosh behind and protect the community behind that."
Bliss also explains how through this program, they were able to arrive at the amount of sand needed for the project.
"When you take the design template, you have to add more sand to it because we know it's going to erode," explains Bliss. "We deliberately planned an over-design from the minimum protection."
He adds they typically exceed totals by 25 to 50 percent, periodilcally surveying for erosion, storm by storm.
"Today's announcement is the culmination of a lot of hard work at all levels of government in coordination with some incredible community organization," said Congressman Tom MacArthur in prepared remarks. "The security we will provide with the beach replenishment project will provide peace of mind to a community that has already been through so much."
Paul Jeffrey, President of the Ortley Beach Voters and Taxpayers Association believes this plan is ideal for people living along the water.
"Every day will be better because they won't have that worry, 'When is the next storm coming? When is there going to be a breakthrough? When is there going to be water pouring down the street?," said Jeffrey.
When big storms race up the Jersey coast, Jeffrey adds, people really worry whether they'll wake up and find the roads or even their homes flooded. He believes that the project getting under way will ease their fears.
"It's not just a one time effort," said Jeffrey. "When they come in and do this replenishment, they do promise to come back and do it every five to ten years as necessary for a period of 50 years."
In the midst of another hurricane season, Martin says that even before this project commences, they're ready if a major storm hits the coast.
"We continue to work with the towns," said Martin. "The state has provided the towns a significant amount of sand to help protect, and to work with them."
One collaborative effort he noted is the steel sheet piling revetment that covers all of Mantoloking's shoreline, and most of Brick Township's. It has been stripped of sand covering more than once this season, to the point at which police cordoned off sections for safety reasons.
"Even with those extreme storms that may ultimately exceed its capacity of protection," Bliss insisted, "it will still be better off and afford some protection for that."
When the restoration is done, he said, water in ensuing storms might rise only a couple of feet.
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