LONG BEACH ISLAND, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A beach replenishment project is underway on Long Beach Island.
The Liberty Island is a 315-ft long dredge used to pump sand onto the beach on LBI. It’s part of a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers $142-million beach replenishment project along the coast.
As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, it’s a rocky ride to the dredge that sits 3-miles out.
Once aboard, giant claws can be seen dropping 50-ft into the ocean to bring in sand.
“Big vacuum cleaners on the bottom pump into the hold of the ship, it steams close to shore to the pump out location,” project manager Keith Watson explained.
Down below, sand is pumped into the ship’s hold where it is stored before being pumped out.
Due to significant storm risk in the area, the Army Corps of Engineers is building the beaches and protective dunes to reduce the damage risk and keep the fun at the beach going.
“Certainly have additional recreational benefits and help keep community in a good place,” Public Affairs representative, Steve Rochette said.
There’s a lot of manpower on board and life on a dredge can be rough.
“It’s not dangerous, but it is hazardous work. Great Lakes strives to make hazardous situations as safe as possible,” Bryan Dast, Operations Manager, Great Lakes said.
The project on LBI was partially complete when Sandy hit.
“Three areas, Harvey Cedars, Surf City, and Brant Beach had beach fill prior to Sandy,” Watson said.
Those beaches didn’t sustain nearly as much damage as other parts of the island.
The main project will be complete by September, then work will begin to repair areas damaged by this winter’s storms.
You could fill Met Life Stadium more than five times with the sand being pumped. It comes out to about 1,500 dump trucks of sand every day with one dredge.