Long Branch officials say recreating the bluff that helped prevent major flooding along the oceanfront and creating temporary beach access this summer are their main goals right now.
"We have to find a way to shore up the bluff, it took a pounding during the storm," Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider said in a recent interview. "It makes you realize how much sand was lost down there, so we want to strengthen that first and then raise the boardwalk."
Long Branch Business Administrator Howard Woolley said the bluff from Brighton Avenue to Cottage Place is "severely compromised." He said there has also been erosion between the seawall and the edge of the roadway that must be corrected before boardwalk pilings can be placed there.
"We have to recreate the bluff, shore up the roadway," Wolley. "Unfortunately, it's not as simple as in other towns where everything is level."
Woolley said the boardwalk has different elevations along Ocean Avenue.
"The land was uphill as you go south," he said. "It becomes a different project at 20 feet as opposed to 30 feet."
He said the higher elevation of the bluff and boardwalk helped prevent severe flooding along the oceanfront, but will make rebuilding the boardwalk more difficult.
Officials say they are still deciding how to reinforce the bluff to make it stronger.
Schneider said it could be done with concrete or possibly rocks covered with dirt, but that no plans have been finalized at this time.
"We still need to see what FEMA will help us pay for," Schneider said.
Temporary Access This Summer
Schneider said the city needs an engineer to look at creating temporary access to the beach from Ocean Avenue south of Pier Village down to Brighton Avenue.
"The extent of the project that we can do in-house is open to debate at this time," Schneider said. "We're probably going to need to bid some of it out."
Woolley said the city is still figuring out exactly how it will create temporary access this summer.
He said it will likely be sand ramps that will lead down to the beach.
"We need to get access points open for the summer," Woolley said.
Fencing is still blocking the entire length of the boardwalk, but that would be removed in certain sections to create temporary access points.
Woolley said the likely spots would be Cottage Place, North Bath Avenue, Pavillion Avenue and Morris Avenue.