Some Long Branch beaches remain closed post-Sandy; replenishment projects continue
LONG BRANCH - The Sandy-battered boardwalk and some beaches in one Jersey Shore community won't be ready for Memorial Day weekend.
Nearly 19 months since the superstorm, crews are pulling old pilings from the sand in the south end of Long Branch to make way for the construction of a new boardwalk. The city says it was waiting for funding and the new boards won't be down by the summer.
The road also remains closed to traffic.
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Residents are frustrated at the slow progress. "Just starting it now is a little late considering it happened well over a year ago now, but better late than never," says John McConnell.
Many are concerned about how the lack of completed projects will impact tourism. "I guess when people come down, they're going to be a little disgusted," says Tommy O'Malley. "No parking, can't walk anywhere."
Beach replenishment is complete from the Monmouth Beach border through Pier Village, so visitors can expect about 300 additional feet of beach. Beaches will be open on weekends only after Memorial Day through June 16.
In the south end of the city, sand pumping continues and the section will not be complete until mid-June.
But beachgoers say the end result will be worth it. "It's going to make the beach more beautiful and people going to come here and they're going to make lots of money," says Jimmy Psinpzas, of Oakhurst.
Businesses like The Stone Hut are hoping to see business improve over last year. "I think people were scared to come back here last year," says Tara Welsh. "They didn't know what it would be like. We still have people who haven't been here since Sandy hit."
Welsh says there's lots for visitors to enjoy despite the ongoing construction.
Beach badges are required on Long Branch beaches. On weekends, the cost is $7 per adult. Children 14 and under are free.