“It’s a stairway to heaven,” exclaimed one toddler, to the laughter of adults nearby, as he headed up the boardwalk in Ortley Beach late Saturday afternoon. Another beachgoer who had just climbed the dunes in the opposite direction had a slight different opinion: “it’s a workout, for sure.”
While dune accessibility is still in the works, sunbathers in Ortley were greeted by new beach entrances and a newly-expanded and engineered shoreline this Labor Day weekend. The consensus – from young to old – was the same: this beach is huge!
Crews from Weeks Marine, the federal government’s contractor in the ongoing, island-wide beach replenishment project, had moved north toward the site of the former Surf Club property by the weekend, meaning beaches to the south were reopened.
The original boardwalk remains, but a new sloped, diagonally-angled entrance with dune areas in front of, and behind, the walkway – has been built. The dune grass that will eventually anchor the dune and protect the shoreline’s integrity will be planted during the fall growing season. Eventually, workers will put down hard-packed sand which can replace the matting now present on the walk down to the beach.
Beach closures remain in place at 7th and 8th avenues in Ortley Beach. Crews are expected to complete the area in November.