By Desrée Taylor
Heavy machinery and crews were on the beach in Manasquan today working to replace what Superstorm Sandy washed away — millions of cubic feet of sand.
“We estimated from survey after the storm there was 5 million cubic yards of material eroded from the storm from here to Sea Bright. We’re putting back 8 million cubic yards,” said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District Resident Engineer Paul Jalowski.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is leading this federally funded $25 million project that will replenish the beaches from Manasquan to Belmar. Originally the plan was to restore the beach to pre-Sandy condition, but the plan has been upgraded to offer better protection.
“A lot of the material erodes in this area so we’re building it back to a level higher than it was before the storm,” Jalowski said.
This is a 24-7 operation that will limit access to the beach. And residents can expect it to get noisy at times. But people we spoke with say, no pain no gain.
When asked if he/she was concerned about quality of life, said, “No. You do what you gotta do to protect it.”
That’s because residents remember well the devastation Sandy caused here and in communities up and down the shore.
“There were a number of houses destroyed. There were hundreds where at least the first floor was damaged, some not reconstructed. But slowly but surely getting done,” said Paulsen.
“Hopefully we’ll be better prepared and hopefully with houses raised and beaches replenished. I think it will give us more of a barrier this time,” said Susan.
This project is expected to better protect shore communities, but it doesn’t call for building dunes. That’s why the mayor is laying the groundwork now so that dunes can be built shortly after this project is finished.
“It will be an engineered dune that we can take care of. Previously we just dumped sand and couldn’t touch it. But this will be engineered so we can maintain it to proper height and width,” said Manasquan Mayor George Dempsey.
Forecasters are keeping a close watch on a coastal weather system that could pack a punch next week. In the meantime, crews will continue their work here. It’s expected to be completed in a few months.