US awards contract for beach storm protection project
The federal government has awarded a contract for one of the largest beach fill projects in the nation's history for an area devastated by Superstorm Sandy.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded a $92 million contract to Weeks Marine of Cranford, to replenish beaches and build sand dunes along the northern section of Ocean County.
The full project will eventually cost $128 million once permission is obtained from landowners who oppose the project, or once the state seizes the land through court proceedings.
This is the last major section of Gov. Chris Christie's plan to erect protective sand dunes along New Jersey's entire 127-mile coastline.
But it also is the biggest hotbed of resistance to the project, including numerous holdouts in Bay Head and Point Pleasant Beach.
About 75 percent of property owners have signed the easements needed to build the dunes. New Jersey plans on starting the condemnation process through eminent domain laws for those who have not.
The project is expected to begin in the spring and in sections to minimize the impact to beachgoers.
The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.