Long Beach Residents: What a Difference a Dune Makes
Brant Beach replenishment project nears completion as final touches are underway.
LONG BEACH TOWNSHIP — With the final phase of the beach replenishment project in Brant Beach still ongoing, homeowners and beachgoers apparently are giving the project an overall “thumbs up.”
This past Friday, June 15, was the deadline for Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, contracted for the project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to complete pumping sand to extend the beach and elevate the dunes from 31st to 57th streets in Brant Beach.
The final phase, which includes constructing and grading the beach access paths, erecting dune fencing and planting dune grasses, is scheduled to be completed no later than June 28, according to Great Lakes and township officials.
This past Friday, the pumping and grading appeared to be completed and comments about the project from those asked were mostly positive.
Dr. Mark Kahn, who has owned an oceanfront home along the replenishment area for nearly 20 years, said the new access points do not appear too steep as was originally feared by many.
“I just hope they withstand any future storms,’” he said, noting that in Surf City storms not only ravaged its replenishment efforts but left steep dropoffs at the beach entrances that need to be rebuilt.
Another area homeowner said the heightened dunes still allowed views from the lower floor of his duplex, although they now required standing up to see them best.
“At some point maybe I’ll raise my place. I always wanted a garage underneath anyway,” he added.
Two women coming up the gradual incline over the dunes from the beach at 37th Street said they did not mind the extra walk, as there was now more beach to enjoy.
“We used to have to set our chairs right against the dunes. Now we can spread out,” one said, adding they had been coming to the same beach for more than 15 years.
Overall, the beaches appeared to have more than doubled in length from last summer, especially after the erosion caused by Hurricane Irene last August. The wide reconstructed dunes now tower over the beaches by 15 feet or more.
This area of Brant Beach has historically had some of the narrowest beaches on the island with storm tides and surges flooding streets and decimating the dunes several times in the past.
On Friday, a few beach access points, which are located at the end of each block in Brant Beach like most of Long Beach Island, were fenced off as grading of the pathways and construction of handicap ramps were still underway.
In addition, a portion of the parking area adjacent to Long Beach Boulevard between 39th and 42nd streets had been fenced off to be used as a staging area for the removal and loading of the last of the dredging and support equipment from the beach and then be transported off the island. The area is necessary since the large trucks needed to move the gear can not navigate the narrow streets leading up to the beach, officials said.
As off last Friday, one large dredge pump was still on the beach at 32nd Street.
The removal of all the equipment and other items in the staging area and dismantling of the fence around it are scheduled to be completed by June 28 deadline, according to a Great Lakes employee working in the staging area on Sunday.