At more than a decade old, the Seaside Heights boardwalk is in need of replacement.
Last winter, crews embarked on a partial replacement project at the south end of town, between Dupont and Franklin avenues, as well as the Grant Avenue ramp further north, after receiving state grant money. But the high cost of both labor and timber prevented a larger project from being proposed. After initial bids were rejected due to cost, the borough settled on replacing boards where they were most needed. The project covering just a few blocks was completed under a $1,103,500 contract an Edison-based contractor.
This year, however, New Jersey has dedicated $100 million in federal infrastructure dollars to a boardwalk replacement fund that will allow for the replacement and maintenance of boardwalks and associated structures in coastal towns across the state. Seaside Heights officials will submit their formal proposal for a full replacement of the borough’s board (minus the areas replaced earlier this year) and are confident the application will be approved. The state has also carved out a special grant for Seaside Heights to receive a security camera system for its boardwalk, which Shorebeat will cover in a separate story.
“We’re looking to get some of the state funding that has appropriated for the boardwalks,” said Mayor Anthony Vaz. “When we get the magic number – our application is being completed now – we plan to start at the north end whereas last year we started at the south end.”
Though the borough will be submitting a single application for funding, the project is likely to be completed in two phases so construction will not be underway during the busy summer months.
“We’ll hopefully complete from Hiering Avenue to Sheridan Avenue before the summer,” said Vaz. “Then, the money will still be there for us to start in the fall of 2024 and see that to completion.”
Vaz said he is confident the application will be approved by the state, and “every town should get its fair share” given the large amount of money that has been appropriated for boardwalk reconstruction.
“Between 2023 and 2024, the whole boardwalk will be completed,” he said.
Applications for funding are due by the end of October and state officials have said they prefer “shovel-ready” projects that may begin as soon as February 2024, according to Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz. The boardwalk, under the application, would be replaced in kind with timber planking.
Aside from the streets completed earlier this year on the south end, the boardwalk’s timber was last replaced following Superstorm Sandy, now more than a decade ago.