LONG BRANCH, N.J. — New sand is on its way to some New Jersey beaches that were rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy but have eroded since then.
Federal, state and local officials announced Friday that a new beach replenishment project will begin soon in Long Branch, Monmouth Beach and Sea Bright, an area that encompasses some of the most flood-prone sections of the Jersey Shore.
“In Long Branch, this was a record-breaking summer for beach revenue,” said Mayor John Pallone. “Beach replenishment is critical for shore protection and to continue those revenues.”
The $37.4 million project will start in December and should be finished by March.
It is deigned to repair and maintain beaches that were widened after Sandy struck the coast. The seventh anniversary of the destructive storm is Tuesday.
Pallone’s older brother, U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr., said the work, while costly, pays for itself several times over in protecting lives and property during strong storms.
“Every time I talk about beach replenishment, I continue to stress that it saves money,” said the Democratic congressman, who once served as a Long Branch city councilman. “People say this all washes away; what are we doing? If you have a major hurricane like Sandy, you get all kinds of damage to the boardwalk, the sidewalk, the streets. That adds up to millions of dollars in damage, if not billions.”
Earlier this month, a coastal storm that passed New Jersey far out to sea still caused major damage to some beaches by eroding them into steep clifflike drop-offs. Bill Dixon, director of coastal engineering for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, said the state is applying for additional funding from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to repair some of that damage.
The corps also has identified additional beaches in the northern Monmouth County area to be repaired with future funding.
In a related development, New Jersey and the Army Corps will not proceed with a plan that would have removed some sand from the top of larger-than-normal dunes in Stone Harbor for use in beach-widening work in that southern Jersey shore community. A contract awarded last month had the option of trimming some large dunes and using the sand to widen the beach in front of them.
The option was rejected by local officials in Stone Harbor, Dixon said.