UNION BEACH, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Some coastal New Jersey residents hit hard by Superstorm Sandy may be able to breathe a little easier during future storms.

On Wednesday, Gov. Chris Christie and state Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin announced a new $202 million flood control project for Union Beach, one of the areas worst hit by Sandy.

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As WCBS 880’s Peter Haskell reported, when Sandy hit there was a 14-foot storm surge that slammed into Union Beach. But this new project should help prevent a repeat.

The project will include the construction of thousands of feet of levees and flood walls as well as tide gates and pump stations. It will also fund the restoration of wetlands and the rebuilding of beaches and dunes.

Mayor Paul Smith was overjoyed at the announcement.

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“This is the best news we’ve heard in my lifetime,” Smith said.

The Christie Administration said most of the project’s funding will come from the federal government. The state and Union Beach are expected to split the remaining cost.

The project was designed more than a decade ago and work was already underway when Sandy struck in 2012. It has since been modified.

Work is expected to begin next year and be completed in 2020. Mayor Smith said there are still more than 300 families that have yet to return since Sandy.

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