NORTHERN OCEAN COUNTY BEACH PROJECT TO START AT VULNERABLE ORTLEY BEACH
DEP, U.S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS ANNOUNCE SCHEDULES FOR STATE’S LAST TWO MAJOR POST-SANDY PROJECTS IN STATE COASTAL PROTECTION SYSTEM
(17/P20) TRENTON – Ortley Beach in Toms River, one of the most exposed and vulnerable stretches of New Jersey’s coastline, will be the first beach to receive sand protection for the long-awaited northern Ocean County beach and dune construction project, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
The project contractor, Weeks Marine, will start pumping sand in Ortley Beach in mid-April, marking the start of work on northern Ocean County’s beaches, hammered by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting a $128 million project to build beaches and dunes in northern Ocean County.
“We are very excited by the upcoming start of both the northern Ocean County project and the Absecon Island project in Atlantic County,” Commissioner Martin said. “We are particularly pleased that work is beginning in Ortley Beach, which sustained such extensive property damage because it did not have a properly engineered beach and dune system when Superstorm Sandy struck. The start of these two major projects fulfills the Christie Administration’s commitment of building a statewide system of engineered beaches that meets Army Corps engineering standards.”
Ortley Beach, which sustained catastrophic property damage from Superstorm Sandy, will receive approximately 267,000 cubic yards of sand, creating an approximately 225-foot-wide beach over the course of two weeks next month.
The beach fill project will occur just prior to Weeks Marine beginning work for the Absecon Island beach and dune construction project in Atlantic County. Dune and beach construction work for Ortley Beach will resume in the fall. Work on other beaches in northern Ocean County will take place during the summer and into early next year.
“Today’s announcement by the DEP is welcome news to the residents and businesses in Toms River that they will be protected from future storms,” said Toms River Mayor Thomas F. Kelaher. “On numerous occasions the township has had to bring in extra sand following major nor’easters. I am very gratified that the DEP recognizes the dire condition of the dunes in Ortley Beach and will accelerate the restoration of sand on a temporary basis until the full project can be completed. We thank the DEP and Commissioner Martin for their support to our town.”
Weeks Marine was recently awarded contracts for both the Absecon Island and northern Ocean County storm damage reduction projects, with scheduling based on the availability of dredges.
The Cranford-based company will utilize multiple-suction hopper dredges, which are ships that pull up large volumes of sand from offshore before maneuvering closer to the beach for pumping onto beaches. They will also use a cutter-head dredge, which is a large barge that sits offshore and pumps sand continuously onto the beach by way of a pipeline.
Weeks will work in 1,000-foot-wide sections of beaches at a time to minimize impacts to residents and visitors.
Engineered beaches and dunes absorb and block the impacts of storm surge while helping to protect lives, property and infrastructure. Northern Ocean County’s Barnegat Peninsula was hit especially hard when Superstorm Sandy slammed the state.
The ocean breached the peninsula in Mantoloking. Record storm surge caused significant damage to most beaches along the northern Ocean County coast. Homes, businesses, piers, boardwalks and infrastructure – including State Route 35 – were destroyed or severely damaged.
The northern Ocean County project entails 11 million cubic yards of sand covering some 14 miles of coastline along the Barnegat Peninsula, protecting the communities of Point Pleasant Beach, Bay Head, Mantoloking, Brick, Toms River, Lavallette, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park and Berkeley Township.
For most of this 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.
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.
The tentative schedule for the northern Ocean County project is as follows:
- Ortley Beach (Initial beachfill): Mid-April 2017 through late April 2017
- Mantoloking: Early July 2017 through September 2017
- Seaside Heights: Late September 2017 through October 2017
- Seaside Park: Late October 2017 through late December 2017
- Ortley Beach (Completion): Mid-October 2017 to mid-December 2017
- Brick: Winter 2018
- Normandy Beach (Toms River): Winter 2018
- Lavallette: Spring 2018
The schedules for Bay Head, Point Pleasant Beach and Berkeley Township will be determined as necessary outstanding easements are obtained.
The $63 million Absecon Island project covers 8.1 miles of shoreline in Atlantic City, Longport, Margate and Ventnor. The Ventnor and Atlantic City portions entail replenishment of beaches already designed to Army Corps’ standards. The Longport and Margate sections involve new construction to bring beaches to Army Corps standards.
Beaches 200 feet wide will be constructed and dunes will be restored to an elevation of approximately 15 feet above mean sea level in Atlantic City. Longport, Margate and Ventnor will get 100-foot-wide beaches and dunes that are nearly 13 feet above mean sea level.
Atlantic City will see fill placed from Oriental Avenue to Jackson Avenue, as well as five outfall extensions or repair. The plan also calls for 0.3 miles of seawall and bulkhead construction along the Absecon Inlet frontage of Atlantic City.
The tentative schedule for the $63.3 million Absecon Island project is as follows:
- Atlantic City: Early April through late June
- Longport: Late April to late June
- Margate: Late June through late August
- Ventnor: Early September through early October
All construction schedules are estimates that are subject to change based on the availability of dredges, mechanical issues, weather and other factors.
DEP PHOTOS/Top: Ortley Beach; Bottom: Atlantic City on Absecon Island