Toms River officials on Tuesday night awarded a $438,525 contract for repairs to the township’s beaches, which were heavily damaged by the Feb. 1-2 nor’easter.
The contract was awarded to Earle Asphalt, of Wall Township, which officials said has previously repaired beaches following storms. While the township’s protective dune held, the sand previously available to sunbathers in Ortley Beach – mainly between the two lifeguard houses, Block House and Lord House – was mostly washed away in the storm, and numerous beach entrances were damaged or destroyed. Some remain blocked off. In the North Beaches, some entrances are also in need of repair and some MobiMats must be replaced.
Township Engineer Robert Chankalian said the state requires the sand that will be trucked in by Earle to substantially match the grain quality of the natural beachfront. The entrances will be repaired to reflect the standards set by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Some entrances will require minor work while others are in need of new posts and fencing.
“They’re going to re-establish that slope, reconstruct and walkovers and reconstruct the fence along the walkover,” Chankalian said of Earle’s work.
Earle is expected to begin work in Ortley Beach on May 5. The project will take eight days to complete. Fences will be replaced by a fence contractor already on retainer by the township since their installation charges are less than Earle’s, Chankalian said. Some other minor work may be completed by the township own Public Works department, however officials said the scope of the project is too large for the township’s own staff to complete in-house and keep up with their normal duties.
“There will be additional work that needs to be done in terms of fencing,” said Councilwoman Maria Maruca, pointing to damage in the North Beaches. “All of the mats were, basically, twisted … but we were able to re-use them. If we could get some FEMA funding for that, since we have an engineered beach, it would be wonderful for us.”
Chankalian said FEMA has issued a project worksheet, the first step toward recognizing that the repairs should be covered under the 50-year maintenance agreement the township signed with the Army Corps prior to the replenishment project.
“All indications are that we will be reimbursed,” said Chankalian, adding that this is the first such claim the township is making for repair work since the dune was built. The federal agency will also take note of the damage sustained during the storm and factor it in to future maintenance projects.
“The first time the Corps does the job, they look for the hot spots,” Chankalian explained. “Next time, they’re going to build that beach area [farther] into the ocean to buy more time. Up until this storm, it’s been two or three years, and the dune has done very well.”