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Beach widening finished in Monmouth

LONG BRANCH, N.J. (AP) — Work to widen Monmouth County beaches that were pounded by Superstorm Sandy has been completed, and similar projects for beaches in other oceanfront counties are planned for this fall and winter.

Jersey Shore
Kena Betancur, Getty Images

After the Oct. 29, 2012 storm wreaked havoc along New Jersey’s 127-mile coastline, officials set out to repair the damaged beaches, both to rebuild the vital tourism industry and protect people and property from future storms.

New Jersey and federal officials say the Monmouth County portion of work wrapped up last week in Long Branch, completing a stretch of newly widened beaches from Sandy Hook to the Manasquan Inlet as the second summer after Sandy has arrived.

Portions of Long Beach Island, and Atlantic and Cape May County beaches also were done within the last year, with additional projects in those areas to come this fall and winter.

The Monmouth beaches have been restored to better shape than they were before Sandy hit, with nearly 8 million cubic yards of sand pumped ashore. Work also was done at Raritan Bay beaches in Keansburg and Middletown.

“These beaches have been repaired and restored to their original design standard, not just to pre-Sandy conditions, and will offer enhanced protection for future storms,” said Robert Martin, New Jersey’s environmental protection commissioner. “We also look forward to the start of other upcoming Army Corps coastal and flood projects, which will make New Jersey more resilient along our entire coastline and other waterways.”

The Army Corps completed six beach replenishment projects in February. Those efforts saw approximately 10 million cubic yards of sand placed on the beaches of Harvey Cedars, Surf City and Brant Beach on Long Beach Island; Atlantic City, Ventnor and Brigantine in Atlantic County, and part of Ocean City, Avalon, Stone Harbor and the city of Cape May. Additional work, such as a project to repair beaches in Ocean City’s southern section, is still to come later this year or early next year.

More problematic are proposed projects in northern Ocean County, where much of Sandy’s greatest damage occurred. Officials are having a hard time getting some beachfront property owners to sign easements allowing the Army Corps to do the work.

Mantoloking has authorized the use of eminent domain to seize small strips of land for the project if the final few easements can’t be obtained. And within weeks it plans to install a steel sea wall to protect itself as a temporary measure until the beach replenishment project can be done.

Some property owners in neighboring Bay Head are paying out of their own pockets to build a rock wall, or reinforce portions of an existing wall that was damaged in the storm.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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