Piles of sand are all that remained where the Belmar, N.J., boardwalk used to stand, in a Nov. 15, 2012 photo. Superstorm Sandy took a bite out of the Jersey shore, washing away millions of tons of sand and slimming down beaches along the state’s 127-mile coastline.
The largest beach restoration project ever undertaken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin in a few weeks along the Jersey Shore.
Just more than $100 million in federal funding has been allocated to replenish a 20-mile stretch of beach from Sea Bright to Manasquan.
Speaking at a news conference in Monmouth Beach Friday, Congressman Frank Pallone said much of the work will be done this summer, and beaches will be closed 1,000 feet at a time.
"I know some people may suffer because their beach may be closed," he said. "But we want to get this done as soon as possible because we may have another storm, who knows when? So the sooner we get it done the better."
Pallone says the project will restore the beach to its original design profile and make it even wider than it was before Superstorm Sandy.
He says without the federal funds Congress approved because of the storm, much of the beach work would not be possible.
"We've been saying for years that these beaches needed to replenished, and more money should have been spent, but it was hard to make the case," Pallone said. "After the storm, there was the understanding that this is severe damage, and we should do this kind of massive project because now the money is available."
The project is intended to help protect public infrastructure including roads and utilities from future storm damage.
"Everybody thinks that by doing this we're saving homes, we're allowing people to swim. That's all true, but that is not what the Corps looks at," Pallone said. "They only look at the damage to the public infrastructure in figuring out how much they're going to save."