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Long Branch Bluff/Boardwalk Construction Likely to Begin After Summer Season

The city was awarded $14.5 million from FEMA to rebuild its oceanfront.

By Christopher Sheldon

Those looking to enjoy Long Branch's boardwalk will likely have to wait until the 2015 summer season to do so.

Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider said although FEMA recently awarded the city with $14.5 million to rebuild its Hurricane Sandy-damaged bluff and boardwalk, that construction would not likely begin until after the summer.

"My guess is there is no way the bluff can be designed, engineered, bid and built before Memorial Day," Schneider said. "I don't want a construction site on the oceanfront during the summer."

The city built temporary beach access points last year and those helped the city bring in just short of $1.6 million in beach badge revenue in 2013. Schneider said having those in place for another summer should not deter people from coming to Long Branch's beaches.

"We had a banner summer," Schneider said. "And we're going to have a beach that's twice as big this summer."

He was referring to the Army Corps of Engineers sand replenishment project which began in November and should be completed this spring. 

Schneider said the hope is for the council to select a design for the bluff and boardwalk and get both projects engineered and bid in the next few months and then start construction after Labor Day. He said there are already plans in place for both projects as the city bonded $1 million for a design of the boardwalk and bluff last year.

"We've done as much as we can without knowing how much money we have to spend," he said. "We've done design work and we're doing an oceanfront survey."

Schneider said the bluff will be rebuilt stronger than it was before and may include some form of seawall, and that the boardwalk will be wider.

"We already have CAFRA (Coastal Area Facility Review Act) approval for a wider boardwalk," he said. "To rebuild exactly what was there made no sense to any of us."

The $14.5 million FEMA is awarding to Long Branch will cover the costs for the demolition and replacement of 69,850 square feet of boardwalk from Pier Village to West End. The funds will include new decking, railing and lighting, according to a release Congressman Frank Pallone (D-6) .Ramps leading from the boardwalk to the beach will also be replaced, Pallone said. 

The bluff will also be repaired with a new concrete foundation, 95,740 cubic yards of additional material, and 11,489 square yards of dune grass, the release stated.
DivineMomentsOfTruth January 08, 2014 at 01:56 PM
I'd rather see a Promenade built like the one North of Pier Village than a new boardwalk, but there is not enough room because of the road.

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