$37.4M beach replenishment to touch up post-Sandy Jersey Shore beaches

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New sand is on its way to some New Jersey beaches that were rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy but have suffered erosion since then.

Federal, state and local officials announced Friday that a new beach replenishment project will begin soon in Long Branch, Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright. That area encompasses some of the most flood-prone sections of the Jersey Shore.

“In the aftermath of a storm, what the damage would be to the boardwalk, the street and utilities and then the cost to do the beach replenishment has to be significantly less than that so it saves money because you don't have to come back and redo everything after a storm,” says Rep. Frank Pallone.

The $37.4 million project will start in December and should be finished by March. It's designed to repair and maintain beaches that were widened after Sandy struck the coast.

The seventh anniversary of the destructive storm is Tuesday.

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“These are not a one-and-done project. They are authorized by Congress that includes supplemental re-nourishment as needed,” says Bill Dixon, the director of coastal engineering for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

Destructive storms this October caused a significant amount of beach erosion.

“We can apply for emergency restoration of those areas and the department is currently in the process of preparing the information to submit for that application,” says Dixon.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers already has identified additional beaches in those areas to be repaired with future funding.

Rep. Pallone says that the positive economic impact resulting from the expanded beaches is well worth the cost of the replenishment.

“Before the replenishment began in ’94…there was no beach…in large parts of Long Branch, Sea Bright and Monmouth Beach. There was literally no beach at all and so the beach has certainly helped the tourism economy,” he says.

Pumping is scheduled to begin in December and be finished in time for the 2020 summer beach season.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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