BELMAR - One of the most popular boardwalks at the Jersey Shore took its first steps toward rebirth today.

Gov. Chris Christie joined local officials this morning to mark the start of construction on a 1.3-mile boardwalk in Belmar to replace the walkway destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in October. The goal is to have it done by May.

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty says new designs including the use of strong hurricane tie-down straps will help anchor the new boardwalk to its support moorings.

The town intended to rebuild the boardwalk with tropical rain forest wood but abandoned those plans, saying it wanted to avoid a legal battle with environmentalists.