SEA BRIGHT: The scope of a project officials have targeted as the most important Sandy-related repair in the borough will be finalized in the next few days.
The Sea Bright sea wall was heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy after the storm breached the wall in several locations, especially the downtown area, and is in need of repair.
The borough is now looking to submit a project worksheet with the total cost of the repair project, but Borough Engineer Jacki Flor said all the areas that should be repaired must be outlined before the paperwork is submitted to FEMA. FEMA will be paying for 90 percent of the project
Flor said the sea wall will “definitely” be repaired from Donovan’s to Chapel Beach Club and will “likely” be repaired from Via Ripa to the foot of the Highlands Bridge where Something Fishy is located. The question now is whether or not to also make repairs from Something Fishy past the bridge to the northernmost Sea Bright border.
Flor said extending the project would be an additional 500 feet and would almost double the price of the project, which is estimated to cost between $350-$400,000 for the borough.
“At this point we are at the negotiation phase with FEMA, so adding something after the fact is going to be very difficult, so that’s why I wanted to make sure everyone was on board with the length and locations of the repairs,” Flor said.
The council did not make a final decision on the length of the project during its May 6 meeting, but Councilman C. Read Murphy said he was not in favor of extending the sea wall repairs.
“I’m more concerned about our residents, so I think you go up to Something Fishy and stop, because another 500 feet is a lot of money and all we’re doing is protecting something (the Highlands Bridge area) that the state should do,” Murphy said.
Flor said the project will likely take about 18 months to complete once it is started. She said the borough engineer’s office will design the wall and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will bid the project out and oversee construction.
She said the public access points that go over the sea wall, also known as walk-overs, would need to be removed and then rebuilt for the wall to be repaired. Several of the walk-overs are privately-owned in the northern section of town.
She said there are several design decisions that need to be made including whether or not to make the sea wall section from Donovan’s to the Chapel Beach Club a straight line.
“It almost bows out and then jags out along the coast,” she said. “(Making it a straight line) would make it a shorter length which means less money.”
Mayor Dina Long said it is important to get the project designed and submitted to FEMA as the repaired sea wall will help protect the borough from future storms.
“This is one of the most important projects for future resiliency in Sea Bright,” Long said.