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Posted 1/11/2017

Release no. 17-002

Steve Rochette

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Philadelphia District awarded a contract late yesterday (Jan. 10) to Weeks Marine Inc. for $92 million to construct a dune and berm project between the Manasquan Inlet and Barnegat Inlet in Ocean County, New Jersey.  The total cost of the contract could be $128 million if options are awarded. The project is a joint effort of the Army Corps' Philadelphia District and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and is designed to reduce coastal storm damages.

The project, once fully completed, will cover approximately 14 miles of coastline along the Barnegat Peninsula and will reduce the risk of storm damages for the communities of Point Pleasant Beach, Bay Head, Mantoloking, Brick Township, Toms River Township, Lavallette, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, and Berkeley Township. More than 11 million cubic yards of sand will be dredged from approved borrow areas and pumped through a series of pipes onto the beaches of the municipalities.

The sand is then built into a dune and berm system designed to reduce potential damages to infrastructure, businesses, and homes that can occur from coastal storm events.  For most of the project area, dunes will be built to an elevation of 22 feet. Beaches will be constructed from 100 feet to 300 feet wide and to an elevation of 8.5 feet. The project area will be eligible to receive periodic nourishment over the course of 50 years to replace sand lost through erosion. In addition, the contract includes the construction of dune crossovers, placement of sand fencing, and dune grass plantings.

"This represents one of the largest beachfill contracts in the history of the United States Army Corps of Engineers," said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Philadelphia District Commander Lt. Col. Michael Bliss. "The engineered dune and berm system will serve the vital purposes of reducing risk and helping to protect people and property."

The project is one of eleven coastal storm damage reduction projects within the Philadelphia District's area of responsibility in New Jersey. It was authorized by Congress but not yet constructed when Hurricane Sandy impacted the state in October 2012. The ocean breached the peninsula in Mantoloking causing devastating damages, and the record storm surge caused significant damage within all the communities of the project. Homes, businesses, piers, boardwalks and infrastructure - including State Route 35 - were destroyed or severely damaged.

The construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. The Army Corps will closely coordinate with the NJDEP and Weeks Marine on the construction schedule and will post updates to its project web site when further information is available.  During construction, communities can expect the construction crews to close no more than 1000 feet of beach as work progresses along the island, (closed sections are "rolling" and advance as the beachfill progresses along the island).

The federal government will be paying initially for the entire project using funds approved under the 2013 Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, which funds projects that Congress had previously authorized but had not been completed by the time Sandy hit. Ultimately, the State of New Jersey will be responsible to pay for 35% of the costs for this initial construction.