Beach replenishment project gets underway in Ocean County

Posted: Updated:
OCEAN COUNTY -

Local, state and federal officials were on hand Wednesday to provide an update on the much-anticipated $128 million beach replenishment project in Ocean County.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin spoke at length about why the project is so important to the current and future economy of the Jersey Shore.

“This economy down here is a $22 billion-a-year economy. So guess what? That's important to the people of New Jersey. It's important to our families. It's important to our culture and our lifestyle, so it's important,” Martin said.

Crews began pumping sand onto Ortley Beach around 5 p.m. Monday. The process involves two dredging boats – the B.E. Lindholm and R.N. Weeks – that pick up sand off the shore of the Mantoloking area, and then return to connect a pipe floating in the ocean.

The sand is then pumped at high power onto the beach. Meeks Marine, the company completing the project, will work in 1,000-foot sections bringing hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of sand on shore. Once completed, Ortley Beach will grow between 200 and 300 feet in width, hopefully bringing with it reassurance to many homeowners.

“Hopefully it will last a bit longer. We will see. This is a rough area of the beach, and once a storm comes in, it seems to wipe out our stairs, our boardwalk. Hopefully this will do it. We will find out,” Ortley Beach resident Greg Wadeyka said.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ provided a updated schedule Wednesday for work at other northern Ocean County beaches. The schedule, which is subject to change due to weather, mechanical issues and if contract options are awarded, is as follows:

  • Mantoloking: Mid-August to October 2017
  • Seaside Heights: October to November 2017
  • Ortley Beach (Completion): November to December 2017
  • Seaside Park: December 2017 to January 2018
  • Brick: Winter 2018
  • Normandy Beach (Toms River): Winter 2018
  • Lavallette: Spring 2018

For most of the project area, dunes will be built 22 feet above mean sea level. Beaches will be constructed from 100 feet to 300 feet wide and 8.5 feet above mean sea level. The project area will receive periodic replenishment projects over the course of 50 years to replace sand lost through normal erosion, according to a news release from the state’s DEP.

The federal government will pay for 65 percent of the project using money approved under the 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, which funds projects that Congress had previously authorized but had not been completed by the time Sandy hit. New Jersey will pay for 35 percent of the project from the state’s Shore Protection Fund.

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