Includes release information from the Army Corps of Engineers and the Office of Congressman Jon Runyan.
In April, the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) updated their project report for building a dune system along the 14 mile stretch of the barrier island in Ocean County from Point Pleasant Beach south to Island Beach State Park. The initial report, completed in 2003, was approved in 2007, long before Hurricane Sandy, but Sandy’s arrival and destruction put the project back in the spotlight.
The study investigated flood and coastal storm damage affects with a view toward reducing impacts from coastal erosion and storms. The recommended plan calls for construction of a beach fill with a berm and dune along the study area oceanfront utilizing sand from an offshore borrow source and periodic nourishment for a period of 50 years. Initial fill requirements would be about 10 million cubic yards, with periodic nourishment at four-year intervals with about one million cubic yards placed.
Prior to Hurricane Sandy, the project remained unfunded nearly ten years after the initial report was conducted.
The beach replenishment project is estimated to carry a price tag of roughly $85,000,000, but is still awaiting implementation guidance and any necessary investigation to determine if the project will be eligible and funded, the ACEOC said in the report.
Local coastal communities have been struggling with an important required component of this project, securing property easements which would provide the Army Corps of Engineers with legal access rights to build the dune system on privately owned properties along the oceanfront.
In Toms River, Mayor Thomas Kelaher said the town would continue to publicly name those individuals and entities refusing to sign the easements.
“The refusal to sign is a total disservice to the people who live on the barrier island,” Mayor Kelaher said last month. “The failure to build dunes is a threat to other residents who want to rehabilitate their homes. I’ve already spoken to the Governor and we’re determined to take all necessary steps to enable the USACE to proceed with their project.”
“The next steps toward initial construction once adequate funding is received is to initiate and complete the Limited Reevaluation Report; develop, approve and execute the Project Partnership Agreement; acquire the necessary real estate; complete plans and specifications; and advertise and award the construction contract,” the Army Corps of Engineers stated in the report.
“Between October 27 & 30, 2012, Sandy significantly damaged the New Jersey coast from Sandy Hook to Cape May and up the Delaware Bay,” the report continued. “This project was hit especially hard with a breach in Mantoloking and significant damage to Seaside Heights, Mantoloking, Ortley Beach, Lavallette and Seaside Park. Significant damage also occurred to piers, boardwalks, and amusements, residential and commercial properties. The current initial construction costs need to be reviewed based on the storm.”
Congressman Jon Runyan applauded the Army Corps of Engineers for their plan to include the Manasquan Inlet to Barnegat Inlet Shore Protection project in its newly released report to Congress.
“I am pleased that the Army Corps of Engineers understood how badly towns like Seaside Heights, Mantoloking, Lavallette, and Normandy Beach need this project constructed to prevent damage from potential future storms,” stated Runyan.