MANASQUAN, N.J. (AP) -- Wider beaches are on the way for some Jersey shore towns whose coast took a pounding during Superstorm Sandy as a $25 million beach replenishment project led by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins Friday in Manasquan.
``Right after Superstorm Sandy, I remember seeing the devastation,'' said U.S Rep. Christopher Smith, a Republican who represents some of the affected towns. ``We've got to replenish, we've got to rebuild the dunes because they did mitigate the loss. The damage would have been far worse had the Army Corps projects not been in place.''
But the project that will widen beaches from Manasquan north to Belmar will not include restoring dunes that washed away during Sandy last year. That would have to be done under a separate project, possibly funded by state and local governments
The work is among several beach restoration projects that were done this year, or that will begin next spring or summer. Work on the northern Monmouth County shoreline including Sea Bright was done earlier this year, as were projects in three towns on Long Beach Island in Ocean County. Additional projects in Ocean, Atlantic and Cape May counties could get underway next spring or early summer, said Ed Voigt, a spokesman for the Army Corps.
Those projects include the southern end of Ocean City, along with Strathmere and Sea Isle City, and additional towns on Long Beach Island. Beach replenishment should be completed by December in Ventnor, he said.
The work will widen beaches, some of which have eroded to just 75 feet wide, to a width of 150 to 250 feet.
Normally, the Army Corps would be authorized to return the beaches only to their pre-storm condition. But special authorization after last year's devastating storm gave the Corps permission to restore the beaches to their fully-built design condition, a state last achieved in 1997, according to Anthony Ciorra, a Superstorm Sandy project manager for the Army Corps.
Much of Manasquan's beachfront was devastated by the storm on Oct. 29, 2012. It washed away tons of sand, smashed and washed away half the borough's asphalt beach walk, and destroyed numerous beachfront houses.
Beach replenishment works by sucking sand from the sea floor, carrying it through a network of submerged pipes, and shooting it through a huge basket-type filter onto the shoreline.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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