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Shore towns in Monmouth and Ocean counties will get new beaches starting as early as this summer, thanks to hundreds of millions of dollars being drawn from the Sandy aid package.
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said the federal government could spend as much as $200 million on a beach-replenishment project that will stretch from Sandy Hook to the Barnegat Inlet.
Pallone said he believes the federal government will fund 100 percent of the project, but that has yet to be made final.
“It’s the largest beach-replenishment project ever,” Pallone said. “Such a massive amount of money is going to make a difference. That’s about 15 times what we would normally get in a year.”
The project will fill beaches with sand, bringing them to a height and width that will provide a buffer against future storms. Chris Gardner, spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ New York Division, which covers Monmouth County, said the beaches will rise to the original level authorized by Congress more than a decade ago, generally about 100 feet wide and 10 feet above sea level.
The schedule of what towns will be affected first will come out in the coming months, at the beginning of the contract process, he said. The project is currently being designed and engineered.
“We’re looking to put sand on the beach sometime this summer,” he said.
Pallone said he expects the project to go out to bid in May.
The project should take at least a year, Gardner said. Only sections of beaches will be closed at a time, he said
Gardner could not confirm the amount that will be spent on the project nor whether the federal government will pick up the entire tab. He said he is not even sure that towns that did not participate in the original project to build up the beaches in Monmouth County between 1994 and 2001 will be able to take part in this new project. Word is expected soon.
A spokesman for the Philadelphia Division of the Army Corps of Engineers, which covers Ocean County, did not immediately return a call.
Pallone mentioned two other projects in Monmouth County.
A flood-prevention project to protect the low-lying areas of the Port Monmouth section of Middletown also is being drawn from Sandy funds. The plans will include the construction of nearly 7,070 feet of levees, 3,585 feet of floodwalls and 2,640 feet of dune and beach replenishment. The project has been on the books for years.
Pallone said he expects it will cost $90 million.
Another $50 million is expected to be spent on repairs to levees, a pump station, a floodwall and closure gates that were constructed four decades ago in Keansburg.
Manasquan officials welcomed the beach replenishment project.
It will restore the beachfront in Manasquan to the level at which the Army Corps engineered it in 1996, borough officials said.
“Basically, our beach will be bigger, wider and cleaner than before,” said Borough Councilman Joseph Bossone, beach committee chairman.