Ortley Beach Dunes To Be Fixed By Late June

Some sections of Ortley Beach are not yet level, as pictured above. (Photo by Sydney Kennedy)

  TOMS RIVER – Small orange cones are lined up in front of a walkover on Ortley Beach. Like security guards, an excavator, sand truck and other heavy machinery sit perched atop a hill of sand. Beach-goers sun themselves near the equipment above. It serves as an ominous reminder of a bitter Memorial Day weekend storm that left more blemishes on the beach’s landscape.

  “I’ve never seen the beach this short,” beachgoer Andrew Venturelli said. His wife, Connie Venturelli, wondered how much longer the heavy machinery would be parked on the beach.

  According to Township Engineer Bob Chankalian, the Public Works Department has been carrying out “grading work along the beaches to get rid of some of the cliffs and slopes created by the storm.” They are also “making the walkovers more accessible.” While some walkovers were buried, others formed drop-offs. If any walkover is unsafe for beachgoers to cross, it has been barricaded.

  A three-foot cliff dropped away from the beach due to erosion, according to Chankalian.

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  This project comes on the heels of the restorative project that was necessary following a nor’easter that hit the beach this past February. It also comes just before New Jersey’s regular hurricane season is expected to begin.

Orange cones block a walkover, Earl Asphalt equipment is parked just beyond. (Photo by Sydney Kennedy)

  “We’re not doing replenishment in any part of the township. Only dune repair,” Chankalian said, noting that there appears to be confusion regarding what exactly the Township is doing on the beach. “We’re fixing the dunes in Ortley again.”

  He said he hopes to see the project conclude by the end of June.

  “When we bring in a heavy site contractor such as Earle, they’re going to spend all week and bring in maybe 8,000 cubic yards of sand. Whereas the Army Corps, with the dredge ship, pumps 50,000 yards in one day. They do five times as much in one-fifth of the time,” Chankalian said. “If we could, we would.”

  Earle Asphalt was contracted to repair the beach this spring, working toward a Memorial Day deadline that would have meant the beaches would be prepped for the busy summer months.

Earle Asphalt equipment is parked atop a hill of sand on a sunny afternoon. (Photo by Sydney Kennedy)

  Beachgoers were still visiting in the midst of the project, some basking in the sun at the very foot of the steep hill the excavators sat on.

  “They fixed it up a lot in a week,” Bob Giannantonio, a 64-year-old summer vacationer said.

  “You’re always going to lose beach,” Chris Laneve, a 35-year-old Toms River resident said. “You’re fighting mother nature.”