Brick officials have fenced off large swaths of the township’s oceanfront – mostly in front of private homes and beach associations – due to safety concerns resulting from delays in a federal beach replenishment project.
Along the vast majority of Brick’s beachfront, a steep drop up to six feet or more exists between the bulk of the beach itself and the area where beachgoers would enter the water. The drop was caused by a steel wall revetment that was installed last summer and fall to prevent breaches in the barrier island like the one that occurred during Superstorm Sandy. The wall was supposed to be covered with 22 foot-high dunes and fronted by a 200 foot-long beach during the replenishment project, but because the replenishment never happened, waves began hitting the wall, causing the unsafe drop as sand eroded.
With the beach replenishment project at least six months out, according to local officials, the fences may remain up during the entire summer season, except in areas where the township deposits sand to level out the beachfront and create temporary access points. Last week, state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said Brick Township taxpayers would be responsible for the cost of the sand; Brick paid more than $80,000 for a sand delivery last week.
“The fence is there for safety,” Mayor John Ducey explained this weekend, as word began to spread over social media about the fence installation. “There is a dangerous situation up at the beach. People are unaware of the steep drop from the top of the dune to the sand. The township does not want a child or anyone to be injured by falling.”
The fence, which runs from approximately the township’s northern border to Normandy Beach, with the exception of certain access points along the way such as Brick’s public beaches, will remain “until it’s safe,” Ducey said, “which, unless we get a lot of shoaling, will be the summer.”