With Steel Wall Exposed, Brick Readies For December Dune Project

Conditions along Brick’s oceanfront, where a federal dune replenishment project will begin mid-December through March 2018. (Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

BRICK – Township officials have mapped out a plan to have Brick beaches fully operational this summer until the long-delayed NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Army Corps of Engineers beach and dune replenishment project begins in mid-December.

The steel wall that runs from Mantoloking to the southern end of Brick beaches is fully exposed except for Brick Beach 1, which has a steep ‑‑ but still sand-covered ‑‑ drop off.

Sand usually returns to the beach naturally beginning in April, but that has not been happening as it did in the past, said Director of Recreation Dan Santaniello.

“The last five years, after Sandy, the sand hasn’t come back, and we are worried that the delay [of the beach and dune replenishment project] puts the wall at risk of failing,” he said from his office on March 29.

The steel wall was not designed to take the constant ocean pounding, and township officials are concerned that with the undermining of the 30 foot sheets and the weight of the sand on the west side, the wall could topple.

No one has done testing or research on how much stress the wall could take, Santaniello said. In some areas, 15 feet are exposed, and the steel cap has required numerous repairs.

“The wall was supposed to be the last resort, it was supposed to be put in place and then the beach replenishment project was supposed to bury it and we’d never see it again,” he said.

(Photo by Judy Smestad-Nunn)

In March, the Army Corps of Engineers announced the schedule for the beach and dune replenishment project that stretches for 14 miles on the barrier island, from Seaside Park to the Manasquan Inlet.

The contractor for the $128 million project, Weeks Marine, would begin in Ortley Beach, which would have an initial beachfill beginning in mid-April, followed by Mantoloking, which would begin at the end of June and finish by mid-September.

Seaside Park and Seaside Heights would have their beaches replenished from September 15 until December 15, followed by Brick Township from mid-December until mid-March. Weeks would return to finish Ortley Beach, and Lavallette and Normandy Beach last.

“We’re very upset we’re not one of the first municipalities, because we have all the easements signed and we were fully cooperating the the NJ DEP and the Army Corps of Engineers,” Santaniello said.

Until the project begins, plans are in place to have the steel wall covered for the summer. Starting on April 10, three full-time Department of Public Works employees would use a bulldozer to scrape six inches of sand from the low tide mark and push it up against the wall along Brick beaches.

“We do that again and again and use as much of the sand as Mother Nature will give us,” Santaniello said. “Last year we did about 20 passes over the course of three to four months.”

Sand would also be trucked in as it was last year, when some $250,000 was spent on sand and which the state paid for, he said. The township would once again ask for reimbursement, Santaniello added.

Three or four sand access ramps are planned for 6th, 7th and 8th Avenues in Brick (and perhaps one other which he did not name), and because there would still be a steep dropoff, safety fencing would be installed between the ramps for safety.

“We have a commitment to the residents of Brick; we have beautiful beaches and we will continue to beautiful beaches until the project starts,” Santaniello said.

He said the Recreation Department needs to hire 20 lifeguards (for a total of 69) and 12 badge checkers (for a total of 20).

For more information, visit the Recreation Department at the Civic Center or go to twp.brick.nj.us.