USA: Christie Administration Moves Ahead on Coastal Protection Project
The Federal Highway Administration has approved a post-Superstorm Sandy infrastructure protection project to construct and install four miles of steel sheet piling to be driven deep into the beaches in Mantoloking and Brick to safeguard Route 35 and nearby homes and businesses from future catastrophic storms, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner (DEP) Bob Martin announced.
Bids will be taken starting today on the steel sheeting project that will complement an engineered beach and dune system planned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Construction on the federal project, which will bolster beach protections for nine coastal towns on the northern Ocean County peninsula from Manasquan Inlet to Barnegat Inlet, is scheduled to start in February.
“This important project will help protect a narrow segment of coastline that was breached during Superstorm Sandy, resulting in substantial damage to property and lives in these towns and to this vital coastal roadway that is the key artery in this region,” Commissioner Martin said. “It is paramount that we lessen the vulnerabilities to future storms.”
Bids from construction firms are due to the DEP by Jan 22. Work is expected to be completed by early summer.
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has committed to pay 80 percent of the cost of the project, estimated to be about $36 million, from Sandy Emergency Relief funds. The state will fund the remaining 20 percent of the project costs.
The DEP has received the required FHWA approval from National Environmental Policy Act review. All right-of-way easements have been secured. DEP environmental reviews, an approved design by DEP’s Bureau of Coastal Engineering and future maintenance agreements with Mantoloking and Brick have also been completed.
Superstorm Sandy destroyed the dune system and flooded the highway along this stretch of northern Ocean County. The infrastructure protection project will extend from Williams Place near the northern border of Mantoloking to the southern coastal boundary of Brick.
It will include 45-foot high steel sheets that will be driven 30 feet into ground on the landward back slant of the beach’s dune. The exposed wall will be covered with sand. Brick and Mantoloking will be responsible for future coverage and maintenance of the wall.
The sheet piling system would serve as a last line of defense to protect Route 35 in the event of another extreme storm like Sandy and will provide a permanent and more protective alternative to a geotube project that the municipalities had been exploring.
“The Township of Brick is eager to protect the residents and infrastructure of the barrier island, as well as the mainland section of town which was inundated by flooding due to breaches along the Route 35 corridor,” said Brick Mayor John G. Ducey.
“We are extremely excited for the sheet steel project to get underway,” added Mantoloking Mayor George C. Nebel. “This project, coupled with the upcoming Army Corps replenishment project, will not only protect the important tourism corridor of Route 35, it will give peace of mind for homeowners who want to begin rebuilding so that they can move on and enjoy the Shore once again.”
Press Release, January 3, 2014