It took a crew about 20 minutes to get a 45 foot-high piece of marine-grade steel sheet pile in place Tuesday, and another five minutes or so for a sky-high pile driving machine to plunge it 30 feet below the surface of the beach in Brick’s barrier island portion.
State officials announced Tuesday that the $23.8 million shore protection project is nearing completion. Crews building the 3.5-mile-long steel barrier have completed their steel sheet piling work in Mantoloking and are close to the end of that task in Brick, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said at a news conference that included numerous local officials.
In Mantoloking, the final 45-piece of steel was driven into the beach at the border of Brick and Mantoloking, across from the Curtis Point area, last week. The driving of sheet piling is now being conducted by three different crews in Brick, with the most vulnerable section of Brick’s beach – adjacent to the Camp Osborn neighborhood – already protected by steel sheets.
The project extends from Lyman Street in Mantoloking and runs south through Brick’s portion of Normandy Beach to the Toms River border, where it is gradually stepped down. After the steel sheets are driven into the sand, they are covered with an epoxy-coated steel cap. The section where the project started, adjacent to Herbert Street, in Mantoloking, is capped and already covered with sand.
The project, which will be completed by mid-November in Brick, would “absolutely” have prevented the breach at Herbert Street – the foot of the Mantoloking Bridge – during Superstorm Sandy which was blamed for the flooding of thousands of homes on both sides of the bay, said Robert C. Mainberger, an engineer with Hatch Mott MacDonald, a DEP contractor.
The steel, said Erik Doyle, a DEP project engineer, is pre-rusted marine grade and could last between 75 and 100 years protected under a sand dune. If exposed to sea water in a future storm, it could last between 50 and 75 years.
The project was paid for mainly through federal highway funds since the wall has the added benefit of protecting the recently-rebuilt Route 35.