Contractors begin construction of a new and sturdier Seaside Heights boardwalk this Friday.

Hurricane Sandy damage in Seaside Heights (Matthew White, Townsquare Media NJ)

Township officials will be celebrating the driving of the first piling in front of a very popular bar and grill that reopened after repairing extensive damage. Mike Loundy, Seaside Heights Director of Community Improvements, says, "We're very very excited about driving our first piling on Friday. It's our intent to do at least 65 piles per day and we're hoping to actually be done a month early by May 1st."

The $3.6 million dollar contract covers construction of the one mile long boardwalk. It calls for the replacement of boards and its substructure with longer 25-foot pilings, heavier bolts and hurricane straps.

Loundy says he believes the restoration of the Seaside Heights boardwalk is important to all the surrounding beaches.

"There's hundreds of thousands of local folks that use our beaches and our boardwalk. That doesn't go into folks who come here to vacation. So we think we're the hub of the Jersey Shore and it's very important that we get going and we hope as we go, the rest of the Jersey Shore will go."

Loundy says storm recovery efforts have brought the community closer together.

"I think the sense of community and the sense of your neighbor being your friend has been something that none of us really expected to see and it's amazing how we've become one."

The celebration takes place at the Beachcomber Bar and Grill at 100 Ocean Terrace at 8 a.m. on Friday February 15th. There will be food, Bagpipers and AmeriCorps representatives.