Part Of The New Boardwalk Will Be Ready By Memorial Day

SEA GIRT, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) – Part of the new boardwalk being built in Sea Girt, N.J. will be ready in time for the unofficial start of summer this year, local officials announced.

The Jersey Shore town is the latest to approve boardwalk reconstruction since superstorm Sandy made landfall and devastated the region.

Work is slated to begin next week in the Monmouth County shore town. Sear Girt Mayor Ken Farrell said the work could cost between $1.65 million and $1.75 million.

The new boardwalk, like the old one, will be made of synthetic planks, with sturdy tie-down straps anchoring them to the foundation.

The borough council awarded a $30,000 contract Wednesday night to remove the remnants of the old boardwalk that was splintered, twisted and shattered by the Oct. 29 storm.

The first phase of the work, covering part of the walkway, should be done by May 6, with the remainder finished by June 23.

Residents have clearly missed being able to walk on the boardwalk.

“I put on 10 pounds since it’s been gone,” said resident Bill O’Brien. “It’s part of the reason people come here.”

A local joggers’ club recently sent a check for $500 to borough hall to help pay for a new boardwalk.

“It’s the heart and soul of this town,” added resident Nancy Nolan.

Sea Girt’s total cost on cleanup and rebuilding from Sandy is estimated to be $2.5 million, according to local officials.

Sea Girt’s work is the latest in a growing number of boardwalk reconstruction projects springing to life at the Jersey shore less than four months before the start of the summer tourism season.

Higher-profile boardwalks like Seaside Heights and Belmar have started rebuilding already; Belmar’s construction crew has driven support pilings deep into the sand on over half of its 1.3-mile beach, spurred no doubt by the possibility of a $100,000 bonus if they finish the job early.

Sea Girt calls its boardwalk project “Operation Comeback,” and has already spent nearly $400,000 on preliminary work. Bids for the second phase of the work are due on Feb. 7, and a contract should be awarded on Feb. 13.

Before the storm, there were 133 benches on the boardwalk, virtually all of which were wiped out by the storm. Work crews were able to salvage the concrete bases of 20 of them, which will be rebuilt and placed on the new boardwalk.

The new boardwalk also will feature a mesh walkway mat that will enable beach wheelchairs to access the sand.

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