LONG BRANCH: The city council is trying to get the Hurricane Sandy-damaged oceanfront boardwalk ready in time for the summer of 2015.
"Our goal is to be under construction next spring and have portions of the boardwalk open next summer," City Administrator Howard Woolley said at a recent Greater Long Branch Area Business meeting. "That's a doable deal, so next summer is what we are shooting for."
Woolley said city officials are close to finishing negotiations with FEMA so that the project can move forward.
"We want to make sure all the funding is guaranteed by them," Woolley said. "We are within inches of the finish line with our FEMA negotiations."
Woolley said once the negotiations are concluded, the city council can issue the bonds that will be necessary to move the project along. The council is expected to introduce a bond ordinance during its Oct. 14 meeting that will do just that. The project could go out to bid before the end of the year.
The high elevation of the boardwalk, which sits upon an oceanfront bluff that was also damaged by Sandy, is the reason cited by officials as to why the project is complex and why only portions of the boardwalk will likely be open in time for the summer.
"We have a difference of 30 feet between our beach and the roadway," Woolley said. "We don't know if we will have everything done from Morris to Brighton because as you go south and the elevation increases, the fixes become greater."
"The other thing we're trying to do too is design it in a way that it will be resistant to future storms," he said. "The boardwalk in Pier Village lasted because of the way it was designed. We've taken a lot of those things and designed them for Morris Avenue south."