MANTOLOKING, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The road to recovery from Hurricane Sandy for one Jersey Shore community is an actual road.
On Friday morning, Route 35 through Mantoloking will finally reopen.
Mantoloking was hit hard by Sandy. Hundreds of homes were made uninhabitable, while many others were destroyed.
Route 35, the main road in and out of the tiny shore community, has been closed since the storm struck on Oct. 29, CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis reported.
“It’s been a pain in the neck…but necessary,” said Brick Township resident Beau Pumphrey.
It’s hard to believe it has been three months of police checking ID, enforcing a 5 p.m. curfew and turning everyone, except residents and contractors, away.
The checkpoint is gone, but homeowner Karen LaDue said she’s still nervous.
“There’s gonna be a lot of gawkers and then we’re gonna get a lot of gawkers around here and that does not make me comfortable,” LaDue said.
That’s been the concern of police and town officials — keeping uninvited guests out, while keeping residents safe from dangling power lines or dangling homes.
“Going through Mantoloking that’s where you get down to Seaside Park and a lot of populated residences down there. So it’s meant a lot to people who can’t go through Mantoloking to get to their jobs or to school and other things,” city spokesman Chris Nelson said.
Still, reopening Route 35 won’t solve Mantoloking’s problems. The town is still dark and the sewer system is still out.
“The disruption has been unbelievable. I have no life except trying to pull my house together,” LaDue said.
LaDue has been forced to do business online, correspond with the Federal Emergency Management Agency or with contractors at a distance. Route 35 reopening ends it all.
“Perhaps this is the change, the beginning of the change, that needs to happen around here,” LaDue said.
Route 35 will reopen at 7 a.m., but police said they will ticket sightseers and anyone else without a home or business in town.
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