By Wayne Parry
State and local officials watched as the work began where the Atlantic Ocean tore through the sand and cut a channel into Barnegat Bay on the other side of the barrier island the communities share, destroying a major state highway and part of a crucial bridge during the Oct. 29, 2012, storm.
The steel wall will be buried in sand and span the length of Mantoloking, where virtually all of its 521 homes were damaged or wiped off the map, and the oceanfront section of Brick Township, its neighbor to the south, where gas-fed fires burned much of what Sandy did not wash away.
“We stood in this spot where the inlet was cut,” said Robert Martin, New Jersey’s environmental protection commissioner. “We knew we needed to do more than just put some more sand on the beach.”
The 45-foot-long steel sheets will be driven 30 feet into the ground and eventually covered by sand, which will form a dune system 22 feet above sea level. In December or January, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin a beach replenishment project to widen the beach in front of the wall to 300 feet.1 2 next >>