Christie: 'The Project's Important As A Symbol For The Region'

LAVALLETTE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A major road through the Jersey Shore that was destroyed by superstorm Sandy is getting fixed up with federal funds, Gov. Chris Christie announced on Tuesday.

Christie, speaking in Lavallette, got a standing ovation when he pledged more than $200 million to rebuild Route 35 from Bay Head to Island Beach State Park.

Residents in Lavallette called the 12.5-mile stretch a lifeline.

“It’s the main artery. We can’t live without it,” a woman told WCBS 880’s Jim Smith.

“That’s where everything happens, that’s where our community gathers,” another resident said.

Christie promised a fast-tracked rebuilding effort of a roadway that will be more resilient that the previous road.

“It was completely chewed away and the ocean met the bay,” said Christie.

Construction on the roadway was planned even before the storm, Smith reported.

“This new roadway will be better and more durable in every way,” Christie said. “That’s part of what we’re trying to do in the aftermath of this tragedy is not to just build back to where we were, but to build back better.”

The project will be performed in small sections. Christie has set an aggressive timetable for the project and expects the rebuilding effort to be completed by the summer of 2015.

“New pipes will be installed underground, including a new underground storm water drainage system. And then contractors will replace the concrete road with a thick, stable stone base topped with asphalt,” Christie said.

Crews will start this summer on a 3.5-mile stretch from the border between Point Pleasant Beach and Bay Head to the border between Mantoloking and Brick. There will be lane closures over the busy summer season, but the governor said they will be mindful of the impact on tourism.

“Moving this project along is one of those markers of progress,” Christie added. “The project’s important as a symbol for the region.”

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