Walking a few extra blocks to the beach is what they might call a “first world problem,” but those of us who grew up on a busy barrier island know how much of an inconvenience that extra distance can be when lugging a day’s worth of beach accoutrement.
The good news: Lavallette will eventually revert to beach entrances at virtually every street, as was the case before Superstorm Sandy hit in 2012. The bad news: residents will have to wait until next season.
“There are discussions” about, potentially, creating a new opening somewhere, Mayor Walter LaCicero said, but the reopening of every access point will come with the beach replenishment project that is making its way up and down the island. Lavallette’s replenishment (and the new dunes and entranceways that will come with it) was supposed to be completed by this summer, but delays have pushed it back to October through December of this year.
The number of beach entrances were cut after Sandy, mainly because under the previous system, an entrance meant cutting through the dune line. The entrances included in the replenishment project will largely go over the dune and be angled to prevent the possibility of a water tunnel from forming and charging down a street.
“As we attempted to rebuild our shattered town, we thought it was in the best interest of the community to limit the voids in the dune,” LaCicero told one resident at a council meeting Monday night.
LaCicero said he’s had requests from numerous residents asking for their streets’ entrances to be reopened, including those on the south end of town where the dunes are ultra-slim.
“The problem with doing it is that there will be a stampede to the door with people wanting their streets opened up,” the mayor explained, so the answer may be to leave things as they are until the replenishment project is done.
LaCicero said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan for beach entrances in town calls for entrances restored in the locations from before Sandy, as well as four handicap-accessible ramps and a 10-by-10 foot seating area at the top of each entrance.