Remember Hurricane Sandy that hit New Jersey in 2012?
Who can forget? Sandy either washed away or destroyed some 200 out of the 521 homes in Mantoloking in a destructive episode of storm surge that hit the states of New York and New Jersey and left Mantoloking and Brick Township, two wealthy towns in New Jersey submerged in water.
Construction Of Steel Sea Wall Starts
On July 10, 2014, the sight of a yellow pile driver shoving a 45-foot steel sheet through a 22-foot high dune on Mantoloking’s beachfront is enough to make the residents happy and hopeful. It has been a long time since Mantoloking residents felt hopeful.
Valerie McDowell, one of Mantoloking’s residents whose house used to be five houses north of the Mantoloking Bridge before the destructive hurricane is one of the residents who constantly feels vulnerable and exposed when the water breaches. McDowell’s house was moved by the storm surge to its present location which is 2 houses from Mantoloking Bridge.
Protection Against Widespread Destruction In The Future
With the construction of the steel seawall finally taking off the ground, Mantoloking residents and neighboring Brick Township no longer have to feel vulnerable every time Mantoloking beachfront shows abnormal water behavior. Starting with the planned 3 ½ – mile long steel wall that will run along the shoreline of Mantoloking and Brick Township and provide protection for the residents against widespread destruction from future storms.
Major Milestone For The State
Considered as a major milestone for New Jersey, and a major effort as part of rebuilding after the devastation, the stretch of steel sea wall represents the incredible resilience of the residents of New Jersey. According to Bob Martin, Commissioner of Environmental Protection, it’s the most tangible sign of rebuilding for the residents of Mantoloking and Brick Township.
With the installation of the 45-feet long steel wall, driven 30 feet below sea level and covered with sand to form artificial sand dunes 22 feet above sea level, residents will soon be able to sleep well at night without the fear of storm surges washing away their homes.
In the days to come, residents will wake up to the piling sounds of the steel walls being driven 30 feet down into the sand as contractors hold the steel sheets together using anchor bolts. Come December or January, a beach replenishment project to widen the beach in front of the wall to 300 feet, will be undertaken by the US Army Corps of Engineers.
Vital to the provision of protecting the sea wall from exposure is the beach replenishment project. Prior to Hurricane Sandy, Mantoloking residents rejected the idea of beach replenishment efforts back in 2007. Post-Hurricane Sandy, the residents have wholeheartedly endorsed replenishment for Northern Ocean County.
Steel Wall: The Best Option For Mantoloking Residents
Currently, the state of New Jersey does not have a program that requires towns to protect and maintain their dunes. State and local officials chose the steel wall as the best way to protect the towns from similar damage in the future.
This is the preferred option rather than knocking down all the remaining homes and relocating stockbrokers, CEOs, lawyers, doctors, and other wealthy residents of Mantoloking.
Last Line of Defense
The steel wall/dunes project will serve as the last line of defense to protect the infrastructure of Route 35 – a coastal evacuation route. Mantoloking’s Mayor Nebel says that the project is about fixing the beach so that it will no longer be a threat for the residents. The construction of the steel wall is scheduled to be completed by October, this year.
Will the steel sea wall be strong enough to prevent storm surges from hitting the beachfront homes in Mantoloking and Brick Township?