Congressman Tom MacArthur recently wrote a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers urging them to complete the beach replenishment project in Seaside Heights before the start of the summer season.
“I recognize the essential work that the Army Corps of Engineers is doing to replenish our beaches and build dunes that will help protect us against another event like Sandy,” wrote Congressman MacArthur.
“The local economy in Seaside Heights, like so many shore economies, is highly dependent on tourism. To hinder access to beaches during the summer season poses serious economic risk to the businesses and individuals who rely on summer tourism. Many tourists are making summer travel plans now and they need assurance that the incredible beaches of Seaside Heights will be open.”
Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony E Vaz agreed stating that “Seaside Heights had made it clear for years that this dune project needed to be done before or after our summer season. I am disappointed that we do not have clarification on this yet from the Army Corps of Engineers.”
On Monday, the Mayor held a meeting with representatives from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Environmental Protection, regarding the beach replenishment project timeline and next steps.
The borough officials and the mayor were concerned that weather delays could push the dune work into June or even July. He asked the Army Corps to consider delaying work until the second week of September if the dune project in Seaside cannot be completed before Memorial Day.
Following the meeting, Mayor Vaz said: “It appears they are looking to talk to the contractor, talk to them and try to work out something.”
The Seaside Heights beach replenishment project was awarded to Weeks Marine, Inc. in January 10, 2017, in the amount of $91.9 million. The project includes placement of approximately 660,000 cubic yards of beachfill material.
The original schedule called for the project to begin in January 2018 and continue through February 2018, subject to weather and other factors. Now, the scheme is scheduled to start in March and finish by May, according to Steve Rochette, spokesman for the Army Corps’ Philadelphia District.