Long Beach Island beach widening moved up to April
SHIP BOTTOM, N.J. (AP) — A $128 million project to widen beaches and shore up dunes on Long Beach Island has been moved up four months to April.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers previously planned to begin the work in August, but equipment for the project became available earlier than anticipated.
"We are thrilled that this important project to protect LBI with engineered beaches and dunes is getting started," said Robert Martin, New Jersey's environmental protection commissioner.
The project spans 12.7 miles of beachfront in Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom, Beach Haven and a small section of Surf City. It's part of an ongoing push to widen beaches and create or reinforce protective sand dunes along New Jersey's entire 127-mile coast.
Shore towns that had robust dunes in place when Superstorm Sandy hit in October 2012 tended to fare better than those that did not. The Long Beach Island project was only partially completed when Sandy hit.
Equipment will be gathered in Long Beach by the end of March, with work beginning by mid-April. It will start in with two dredges in Long Beach Township and work south toward the Holgate section at the southern tip of the island. A third dredge will join the project in August several miles north in the Loveladies section of Long Beach, and work south.
The Long Beach Island project is one of seven previously authorized but never-constructed coastal and flood projects statewide, with a price tag of more than $1 billion. Two of those projects — Oakwood Beach along the Delaware River in Salem County and the Raritan Bay beachfront in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown — were completed last year.
Other beach construction projects planned to begin in 2015 include work from Brigantine Inlet to Cape May Inlet, including Margate and Longport, and the northern Ocean County peninsula from Manasquan Inlet to Barnegat Inlet. This section includes some of the towns hardest-hit by Sandy, including Point Pleasant Beach, Bay Head, Mantoloking, Brick, Toms River, Lavallette, Seaside Heights, and Berkeley Township.
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