The years-long wait to begin beach replenishment and dune-building on Ocean County’s northern barrier island may have signs of coming to an end.
Brick Mayor John Ducey said Tuesday that state officials informed him that they will likely be ready to give the green light to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin accepting bids for project in June. Though federal dollars have been earmarked for replenishment from Manasquan Inlet to Island Beach State Park for several years, the project has never gotten underway due to the refusal of oceanfront homeowners to sign easements allowing the work to go forward, as well as lawsuits filed by the homeowners after the state moved to take the easements.
Ducey did warn, however, that he has been given similar messages in the past.
“Now they’re saying they’re fairly certain it will be early June,” Ducey said. “If they go out to bid in early June, it will probably be a five or six month process before the actual award.”
Brick’s beaches have been especially battered over the past two years. The state installed a steel sea wall that spans the length of the town, designed to be buried under the dunes from the project to be used as a last resort in storms. Because the project never got underway, waves have scoured the base of the wall, creating large drops along the beachfront.
Ducey said the township will restore access to beach entrances with sand the township has in its possession come summer, but all areas of the beach will be evaluated for safety purposes.
Besides Brick, the Ortley Beach section of Toms River is in dire need of replenishment following numerous fall and winter storms that necessitated emergency sand delivers to prevent a breach from forming.
The prospect of the replenishment project, which will build 22 foot-high vegetated dunes and create at least a 200 foot beach berm in front of the dune line, getting underway is welcome news for Brick.
“There seems to be some hope on the horizon that we’ll have some sand on our beach,” said Ducey.