$150M beach replenishment project for northern Ocean County goes out to bid

     Crews working on the Long Branch beach restoration project on January 26, 2014. (Photo: Richard Huff via Jersey Shore Hurricane News)

    Crews working on the Long Branch beach restoration project on January 26, 2014. (Photo: Richard Huff via Jersey Shore Hurricane News)

    A long-awaited $150 million beach replenishment project for northern Ocean County municipalities has gone out to bid, state officials said. 

    The 14-mile project, stretching from the South Seaside Park section of Berkeley Township to Point Pleasant Beach, is expected to begin next spring, state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today during a news conference.

    “This is a great day for these communities and for New Jersey,” Commissioner Martin said in Lavallette. 

    It’s the last major stretch of beaches to head out to bid, he said. Numerous beach replenishment projects at the Jersey Shore have either been completed or are onging.

    Officials hope to award the bid this fall. Work will first begin with beach and dune construction in southern Mantoloking, Lavallette, Toms River, Seaside Heights, and Seaside Park, according to a state release.

    Since easements are still outstanding in Bay Head, Berkeley, northern Mantoloking, and Point Pleasant Beach, work will not begin until necessary easements are obtained. 

    Out of the 545 easements, nearly 350 are have been provided voluntarily, the release said. The state currently has 149 condemnation proceedings in litigation, including 83 in Bay Head, 53 in Point Pleasant Beach, nine in Berkeley, and four in Mantoloking. 

    According to project details, offshore pumping will supply some 11 million cubic yards of sand to build dunes 22 feet above sea level and 100 to 300 foot wide beaches 8.5 feet above sea level for most of the project area. Periodic replenishment projects over 50 years will replace sand lost to normal erosion.

    65 percent of the funding will come from the 2013 federal Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, while the state will fund the remaining 35 percent from the Shore Protection Fund. 

    “This crucial project will protect lives and property from the kind of devastation much of this area experienced during Superstorm Sandy,” Martin said. “The Christie Administration has remained steadfast in its commitment to building a full coastal protection system of engineered beaches that, in addition to providing protection, are essential to the identity and economy of the Jersey Shore.”

    But Jeff Tittel of the New Jersey Sierra Club says the project says the money should be going toward other methods in dealing with flooding risks. 

    “What this area really needs is a dune system, elevating homes, and buyouts. The federal monies coming in for rebuilding should be going towards adaptation and mitigation, restoring natural systems and requiring green buildings and energy efficiency,” he said. “We should be implementing adaptation and mitigation planning and reducing carbon pollution. The Christie Administration’s failure to deal with climate change has not only wasted millions of dollars, but put people at risk.”

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