Home Shore Environment Beach Replenishment, At Last: Island-Wide Project Goes Out to Bid

Beach Replenishment, At Last: Island-Wide Project Goes Out to Bid

6
SHARE
Lt. Colonel Michael Bliss announces the northern barrier island beach replenishment project. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Lt. Colonel Michael Bliss announces the northern barrier island beach replenishment project. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

A $150 million project to replenish beaches and build engineered dunes up and down Ocean County’s northern barrier island went out to bid this week, officials announced Thursday, with work expected to begin by spring.

The project, long held up by the refusal of some oceanfront homeowners to sign easements allowing the dunes to be built on privately-owned sand, will move forward nearly four years after Superstorm Sandy ripped a hole in the island at Mantoloking and devastated Ortley Beach and other communities.

The project was announced by federal, state and local officials at the Ocean Beach firehouse in Toms River’s North Beach section.

ADVERTISEMENT - STORY CONTINUES BELOW


According to Stephen Rochette, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Philadelphia District, the bids will be opened Oct. 26, with an award to follow in the “early winter” time period. Depending on the availability of dredge equipment, work is expected to begin during the winter season – by spring – and last for 490 days, only a 24 hour, seven day per week basis.

Initially, said state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, the project will include southern Mantoloking, Brick, all portions of Toms River (including Ortley Beach), Seaside Heights and Seaside Park. Because of ongoing legal issues regarding challenges to easements and eminent domain claims, Point Pleasant Beach, Bay Head, the northern portion of Mantoloking and the South Seaside Park section of Berkeley Township are included as bid options that may be added to the project at a later date.

Lt. Colonel Michael Bliss, commander of the Philadelphia Army Corps district, said the bid specifications do not dictate which island communities will receive dunes and sand first.

“If you are over-specific, you get exactly what you want, but you get it at a very high price,” Bliss explained. “We have an ability to shape [the project], if we divide our areas up, and we have areas that are certainly more vulnerable. Once we get a favorable bid, we intend to work with the contractor to see if it is okay with them to keep the same price, or if we have to put more money into it.”

Likewise, Bliss said, there was no way the project could be designed to avoid specific areas during the summer season, however crews working on the project generally close a single block of beachfront at a time, so beachgoers and vacationers could easily simply use the next street’s sand.

Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher said that after Sandy struck, he made it is his mission to obtain the funding to complete the project. A brigadier general who visited told him, he said, that had beach replenishment been in place before Sandy, the island would never have breached at Mantoloking and thousands of homes would have been saved from flooding.

Bliss said he understands questions as to whether the sand will eventually be lost to future storms, however replenishment is the best way to protect New Jersey’s shoreline.

“We account for the erosion, and we have a long-term commitment for 50 years where we will renourish that,” he said. “When you do the economics, and calculate it out over 50 years, there is no other way to do it that is as economically feasible.”

The project, according to the Army Corps, will include the construction of 22 foot dunes and beaches between 100 and 300 feet long, and eight feet above sea level, depending on the location. The project also includes the planting of dune grass to vegetate the dune, accessible walkovers for beach access, fencing, stabilization mats and vehicle entrances.


SHARE
  • Surfrider

    I just do not understand why they are wasting money paying people to bulldoze sand now, over the last 3 weeks, all the work is for naught, as it has all gone back into the ocean that has been put up against “Das Wall” ! C’mon, how dumb are the people authorizing this, who are they (?), publish their names and make them account for their decisions! Certainly get them out of their positions, they have no business in them……..How much $ has this added up to? The sand they bulldozed is GONE! already!

    • Kellahers_225K_funbags

      Daniel’s Wall….
      He stood in 100% agreement with the wall…..
      As he and his former employer, the Patch Took the opposite view of a certain Newark Star Ledger Reporter and Bay Head property owner.

  • NativeAmerican

    The ocean is roaring tonight.
    That sea wall will be washed away.

  • Kellahers_225K_funbags

    AS I STATED IN 2013, WHEN DAN NEE HAD MY PATCH ACCOUNT DEACTIVATED..

    THE USACOE SAID NO SAND FOR US UNTIL “””after 2016″”” AT THE MEETING HELD IN LATE WINTER OF 2013 AT THE PRIVATE HOME ON THE OCEAN IN MANASQUAN.
    IT APPEARS DAN IS NOW PROVEN A LIAR AS HE STATED, ” HE SPOKE TO OFFICIALS” “THE COMMENTER’S STATEMENTS ARE NOT CORRECT”

  • Kellahers_225K_funbags

    I am willing to accept that apology Daniel….

    I WILL FRAME IT AND HANG IT NEXT TO MY COLLEGE DEGREE AND MY NJPE LICENCE IN MY OFFICE…….ALONG WITH MY CERTIFIED MUNICIPAL ENGINEER’S LICENCE…….

  • Surfrider

    I know the sand that has been being piled up has mostly been for access probably as of late, but the season is over, fishing and surfing now, we can get up and down the escape ladders, no overhead for our community……