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Seaside Heights Beach Replenishment ‘Disaster’ Looks to be Averted

Beach replenishment in Ortley Beach, N.J., as of June 14, 2017. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Beach replenishment in Ortley Beach, N.J., as of June 14, 2017. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

Sun, sand and surf will be alive and well in Seaside Heights this summer.

Borough officials say they are confident the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will not shut down borough beaches during the height of the busy summer tourism season so a beach replenishment and dune-building project can take place. Work on the project was originally scheduled to be going on now – in the winter – but mechanical issues and foul weather have delayed work in other towns, pushing back the Seaside Heights portion of the project.

“It looks like we’re going to be scheduled for the end of August,” said Mayor Anthony Vaz, adding that final confirmation of the new project date would likely come Wednesday.

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Vaz praised U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur and Gov. Phil Murphy for supporting the borough’s position that beaches should not be closed in a town so dependent on summer tourism revenue.

“Tom MacArthur has been 100 percent supportive, and Governor Murphy’s office has called and been on top of it,” he said.

The project, Vaz said, will begin on the north end of town where few activities are planned – so even if the work begins before Labor Day, the beach experience for visitors should not be greatly affected. There is also the possibility that there will be additional delays.

“We only have a few activities planned for September and they’re all on the south end,” Vaz said. “Even if they get stuck again … I don’t care if they start in October, that’s okay with me too.”

The one remaining issue – one that is unique to Seaside Heights – is the fact that the borough utilized fixed, wooden entrances to the beach from the boardwalk. Those entrances have already been removed due to the fact that the project was supposed to have taken place over the winter. As it currently stands, there is no way to access the beach, though crews have already started working on a temporary entrance for this weekend’s Polar Plunge event.

“We’ll build, lease or make portable ramps,” Vaz said. “They may not be the type we’re used to, but we’ll have something.”

The Army Corps’ contractor, Weeks Marine, will install permanent ramps that do not disturb the 22-foot dune that will be built as part of the project.

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