Work to repair ocean beaches and dunes in three Long Beach Island communities will begin before the end of May, officials have confirmed.
A $30.6 million replenishment project to restore sand in Harvey Cedars, Brant Beach and Surf City is due to begin within the next two weeks and continue into the fall.
The Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company will pump 3 million cubic yards of sand to rebuild engineered beaches in the three island communities that were affected by Superstorm Sandy, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said in a statement this week.
The island's strong dunes are credited with preventing the type of ocean breach that occurred during Sandy in Mantoloking, which split Ocean County's northern barrier island in two and destroyed blocks of homes and businesses.
Because residents in the three communities signed easements and had their beaches replenished in the past, they are entitled to repairs under a 50-year maintenance plan, officials have said.
"Our goal is to have as much of the project repaired and restored prior to this year's hurricane season and all of the project restored prior to the onset of dangerous fall nor'easters," said USACE Philadelphia District Project Manager Keith Watson.
Officials with the Corps said the project will begin in Harvey Cedars and Brant Beach, a section of Long Beach Township, this month. The Harvey Cedars project is expected to take 120 days to complete and the Brant Beach section is expected to take 100 days to complete.
About 60 days after Brant Beach is completed, work will begin in Surf City.
Surf City officials are expecting their phase of the project to begin in mid-August, said Councilman Peter Hartney.
"At our meeting on Friday, they gave us mid-August, but that always changes because of weather and all that stuff," he said. "If one of their dredges breaks down that can slow them down, or on the other hand, if they get a stretch of good weather, they can go faster."
Hartney said for the project as a whole, the dredge crews will shut down about 1,000 feet of beach – or two or three blocks – at a time so work can be performed, then reopen those beaches and move to a new area.
Hartney also said Surf City has partnered with the Ocean County Road Department to temporarily repair its beach entrances, which were made into virtual cliffs during Sandy. The repairs by the county's crews, which are scheduled to be completed by early June, will allow beachgoers to access the ocean this summer before the USACE project begins.
Work to repair concrete walkways and the pavilion at the borough's bay beach is also nearly complete, Hartney said.
The entire USACE project in the three island communities is expected to be completed by the end of Oct. 2013.