Long Branch Still Weighing Options For Boardwalk Reconstruction

Officials stress that beaches will be open


Long Branch officials are still deciding what they will do to to rebuild the city's boardwalk that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy last month.

Long Branch Administrator Howard Woolley stressed during Tuesday night's council meeting that whatever the future holds for the boardwalk, that the city's beaches will be open this summer.

"We are going to have beaches and we are going to have access to the beaches," Woolley said. "The boardwalk is another matter and we are looking at different ways to possibly rebuild it."

"We want to build something that has a 20-year useful life from what future storms may come," Woolley added. "The old method of construction is not necessarily what we are looking at. We are looking at possibly doing some other things."

Woolley said the city will weigh all its options before making a decision.

Long Branch Office of Emergency Management Coordinator Stanley Dzuiba said he has already spoken to FEMA representatives about the boardwalk

"They have different groups coming, one that’s in charge of debris and one that’s got the beachfront," Dzuiba said. "They are coming back later this week or next week to walk the boardwalk with us."

City Attorney James Aaron said the future of the boardwalk will likely be determined by what FEMA and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection recommend should be built there.

"The city may have an advantage over some other municipalities whose boardwalk wasn’t constructed the same way or the city may be told 'look you can’t do it that way'," Aaron said. "Or Long Branch may be delayed in virtue of having to get new engineering specs and get those approved by FEMA and the DEP."

Long Branch Chief Financial Officer Ron Mehlhorn said there is a state provision that could help the city build a new boardwalk at a cheaper price.

"If a major capital improvement is necessary as a consequence of Hurricane Sandy, the emergency provision allows the immediate expenditure of funds by passage of a bond ordinance that spreads the funds over the life of the improvement," Mehlhorn said. "The boardwalk is at least a 20-year improvement."

Mehlhorn said if the city uses this procedure, the down payment for the project would be waived. Municipalities are usually required to put 5 percent of the project down in budget the budget. So, for a $10 million project, the city would be required to budget $500,000.

"If you think you’re going to proceed with the boardwalk, I would say you should take advantage of this provision," Mehlhorn said. 

He said it could simply be passed as a resolution at future council meeting if the council wishes to do so.

Big Whitey November 28, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Why dont they open the beaches now so year round residents can get down there? Many look forward to off season so we can walk our dogs, run, and beachcomb without Bennys. Its clear the Mayors priorities lie with those coming down the Parkway with fistfuls of dollars rather than those of us who enjoy the off season. We pay taxes, we own the beach. Put a stairway up for Gods sake.
Big Whitey November 28, 2012 at 07:17 PM
And can someone explain why the City didnt allow surfers in the water after the storm? Imagine if NJ had waves like Hawaii, no one would be allowed in.
Thindog November 29, 2012 at 01:08 AM
If storms like Sandy are going to be happening more frequently all the shore towns should be looking at building more substainial boardwalks. Long Branch should take their time and get it right. This was mentioned on another site http://tinyurl.com/c3ucrub but I'm sure there are other alternatives out there that would have survived Sandy. Maybe our boardwalk should include a seawall to stop water that gets paste the dunes from getting to the city.
Big Whitey November 29, 2012 at 07:47 PM
The promenade handled the waves pretty good, and from what I saw after the storm. our boardwalk didnt look to bad. I remember prior to the storm it was being rebuilt, so it was by no means a new structure. I have to wonder if the city knocked it down so quick so as to get insurance or FEMA money. Pier Village boardwalk looked ok to, except the cement stair landings. It seems that if the water can get under the boardwalk there is less of a problem.
Jason philbin December 06, 2012 at 03:02 AM
If you are looking for a new and better boardwalk construction method, a concrete boardwalk solution with design life's of 50 years is now available in the usa. Check out this technology provided by permatrak. Www.permatrak.com


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