Fed judge rejects Zika argument, rules Margate dune project can proceed

View of the Ocean in Margate

View of the Ocean in Margate

A plan to build protective sand dunes along part of the New Jersey shoreline can proceed after a federal judge rejected fears raised by opponents of the dunes, including a claim that the sand piles could help spread the Zika virus.

Related: New Jersey dune opponents invoke Zika fears in bid to stop project

Citing the mosquito-borne illness that has caused birth defects in tropical areas was the most far-reaching of many tactics used by property owners trying to prevent Gov. Chris Christie’s administration from carrying out its dune project four years after Superstorm Sandy ravaged parts of the Jersey shore.

Seven oceanfront homeowners in Margate, just south of Atlantic City, are suing the state and federal governments seeking to block their portion of the dune project, which other groups of opponents are battling up and down the state’s shoreline.

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