Wildwood's Newly Renovated Stretch of Boardwalk Is Almost Ready to Open

Wildwood officials say they're just a few weeks away from finishing repairs on several blocks of the beach's famous boardwalk. Now downtown Wildwood is looking to get a revamp, too

NBC Universal, Inc.

Months-long repairs on one of the Jersey Shore's most popular boardwalks are nearly complete ahead of this year's summer crowds.

Wildwood officials say they're just a few weeks from finishing repairs on three blocks of its wooden walkway, as famous for the motorized tram cars that carry people up and down it as for the gigantic expanses of sand that stretch to the ocean.

The first $4 million of what could eventually be a $30 million to $40 million project is being done solely with state funds included in this year's budget.

Wildwood also just announced that it's receiving a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration for their boardwalk reconstruction project.

The Wildwood boards are particularly popular with tourists from Philadelphia and its suburbs.

“The boardwalk is over 100 years old, and all we've ever done is patch jobs that need to be done for health and safety issues,” said Mayor Pete Byron at the beginning of construction. “There never really was a plan. We couldn't afford the $80 million it would have taken to do a total rebuild.”

Work started in November on the three-block section -- from Oak to Maple avenues -- of an eight-block area. The remaining five blocks are expected to be completed with an additional $4 million state grant proposed in Murphy's fiscal 2023 budget.

This section of boardwalk is the first part of a multi-phase, multi-year project. The goal? Twenty of the boardwalk's 26 blocks to be refurbished, a process that could take up to five years, with work done in the offseason to avoid interfering with tourist season.

Engineers examined the concrete substructure of the walkway and determined that not all of it was in bad shape, Byron said.

An examination of the boardwalk's underbelly by local and state officials in 2019 found some spots where concrete crumbled to the touch.

But the overall assessment of the substructure cleared the way for less expensive plans to repair the sections most in need of work, the mayor said.

The rebuilt boardwalk's surface will be entirely made of pine wood. Bryon said the city has ordered a very durable type of wood called cumaru, but due to supply issue delays, it will have to be installed in the next phase. No need to fear, even without concrete, the tram cars will continue to operate as usual.

Downtown Wildwood Revival

It's not just the boardwalk getting a makeover in Wildwood. The shore destination is making new efforts to help revive Pacific Avenue and the city's historic downtown area, as well.

New zoning plans for the 1.3 mile stretch of Pacific Avenue, or PAC Avenue as it will be called, aim to create a thriving downtown residential and retail center. The strip will offer incentives to encourage residential and commercial development, with the hope that "eyesores" or vacant properties may be purchased and flipped.

According to Wildwood's site, the downtown area consists of 315 properties spanning 56 blocks along Pacific Avenue, from Cresse Avenue to 26th Avenue.

“Cape May County generates, on average, more than $6 billion per year in tourism receipts -- nearly 1/6 of the state’s total tourism industry," Byron concluded. "And a significant portion of that comes from the Wildwoods and our Boardwalk.”

Contact Us