Toms River officials are engaging with the state Department of Environmental Protection to coordinate the repair efforts for the Feb. 1-2 nor’easter, with Trenton considering allocating $50 million to statewide beach and dune projects this year.
The Ortley Beach section of Toms River is agreed to have suffered some of the worst damage in the storm, which also carved out cliffs in Bay Head’s dune line. In Ortley Beach, the dune itself held – doing its job in keeping the ocean from spilling onto local streets – but several beach entrances were destroyed and the accessible area of sand for beachgoers was reduced substantially. The repairs will likely include trucking in new sand and continually moving sand into place as it naturally returns during the spring tides. Indeed, much of the sand that washed away did not go far, forming a bar about 100 meters offshore.
“It will involve bringing in sand and heavy equipment,” said Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill, speaking of the repair effort.
Last week, the township council voted in favor of soliciting bids for the engineering and purchasing departments at town hall to advertise and receive bids for a dune repair project. It is not yet known how many truck loads of sand will be required, as the specifications for the project are still being drawn up.
Officials are hoping the state will cover at least some of the repair costs.
“Our engineer gave [the DEP] a list of what needs to be done in terms of replenishment, and entrances that need to be rebuilt,” Hill said.
Ultimately, the mayor said, beaches will be open in time for the summer season and the repairs will be completed using a combination of a contractor to distribute new sand and the township’s own public works crews to move sand that returns on its own.
“We do anticipate using our public works people moving sand around with our equipment,” said Hill. “We’re going to be moving the sand that comes back after the storm season. This will be sand we’ll need to shore up the dunes at this point.”