Construction near the Lavallette boat ramp and West Point Island. (Photo: Daniel Nee)Construction near the Lavallette boat ramp and West Point Island. (Photo: Daniel Nee)Construction near the Lavallette boat ramp and West Point Island. (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Construction near the Lavallette boat ramp and West Point Island. (Photo: Daniel Nee)

As Lavallette continues through its phases of improvements to the borough’s bayfront, attention will switch from dredging near the West Point Island bridge to the nearby boat ramp.

Borough Administrator Robert Brice said Monday that the state Department of Transportation and Ocean County both operated dredgers in the area of the bridge channel and that portion of the project has been completed.

“The county was able to do very close work near the boat ramp and the bridge,” said Brice. “Then the DOT came right in when they were out doing their project, came into our channel, and deepened it as well.”

The DOT has been dredging the entire Lavallette Channel, which extends from Seaside Heights to Normandy Beach, and filling two dredge holes off the borough’s bay beach that were dug as a source for beach replenishment sand after the 1962 nor’easter. As part of the project, the state agreed to help with the bridge channel and the rest was completed under a contract with the county, which operates its own dredging equipment.

The next phase of the project, according to Mayor Walter LaCicero, is improving the borough’s boat ramp to make it more useful to boaters.

“Now that the dredging has occurred, there’s actually a drop-off of about two feet from the ramp,” said LaCicero. “The ramp is too high, it’s always been too high, so when you back your trailer and stop your tires at the edge of the ramp, the water isn’t high enough to float your boat off the trailer.”

Officials met with engineers this week to discuss solutions, which will almost certainly include an extension of the ramp. That, however, requires a permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“The consideration is that we reduce the height, pull that ramp down lower to 18 inches and extend it a bit eastward so it’s longer,” said LaCicero, explaining that the overall angle of the ramp would remain as-is.

One option used in other ramps has been a curve-up at the end of the concrete to prevent a tow vehicle from accidentally slipping off and ending up in the sand – or underwater.

LaCicero said a ramp extension can be built either by ordering a pre-constructed piece of concrete to fit at the end, or building a barrier around the ramp, temporarily draining the water and extending it in the traditional manner.

“Regardless, the engineer is going to come up with some proposals,” the mayor said.