Repair work began over the last three days in Ortley Beach, with crews from a construction firm beginning to take deliveries of sand and rebuild dune crossovers and beach entrances which were damaged during storms over the fall, winter and spring.
The crews from Earle Asphalt Company, the contractor that submitted a low bid of $304,913, first constructed a hardened entrance for heavy equipment at the Harding Avenue dune crossover and delivered numerous vehicles, including dump trucks, excavators, bulldozers and front loaders, to the beachfront. Sand has since been trucked in and the heavy equipment used to move it into place, shoring up the beach berm – the portion of the sand on which visitors set up their chairs and umbrellas – and restoring access to areas where “cliffs” formed during storms, shutting them down.
The work is progressing south-to-north, with the job still largely in its infancy. The area between Harding and Fort avenues were being worked-on by the end of the day on Thursday.
The contract between the township and Earle will include repairs of all of the dune crossovers that were damaged over the fall and winter months. Earle’s bid on the project represented the lowest proposal – by far – for the work. The next-lowest bid was $597,000, followed by the third-lowest bid of $625,000. Numerous blocks, especially those closest to the former Joey Harrison’s Surf Club site, are still blocked off at the oceanfront due to the steep drop between the entrance and the beach berm. The dunes themselves have held over the course of several years, however, and have never come close to being breached in any storm.
Toms River Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill said this week that the mild and largely snow-free winter allowed the township to utilize funds normally reserved for winter plowing operations to help restore the beaches.
Toms River has been forced to tap local funding to restore beach access for several years in a row following winter storms that caused similar damage to the shoreline. A $60 million plan from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to re-engineer Ortley Beach’s oceanfront to, hopefully, establish a permanent fix has been funded, however the project is being re-bid by the federal government after proposals came in over budget. The project was supposed to have been well underway by now, but is expected to begin this fall or even early in 2024, depending on the contracting process and the availability of dredge boats.