Northern Barrier Island Residents Start to Return

The state of emergency was lifted Monday for the barrier island sections of Toms River, Brick Township, Lavallette and Seaside Heights

By Lori Bordonaro
|  Monday, Jan 7, 2013  |  Updated 4:46 PM EDT
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More than two months since Sandy, residents of some of the barrier islands -- those who did not lose their homes in the storm -- are being allowed to return full time. Lori Bordonaro reports from Brick Township.

NBC 4 New York

More than two months since Sandy, residents of some of the barrier islands -- those who did not lose their homes in the storm -- are being allowed to return full time. Lori Bordonaro reports from Brick Township.

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Authorities reopened most of Ocean County's northern barrier islands more than two months after Sandy destroyed and damaged homes.
 
The state of emergency was lifted Monday for the barrier island sections of Toms River, Brick Township, Lavallette and Seaside Heights.

Now residents, still shocked by the devastation Sandy has wrought on their homes, are faced with cleaning up and rebuilding. 

Dave Rento has been driving down to his home in Brick Township from North Jersey every day, hoping to rebuild. The basement and deck of his beachfront home were destroyed.

"There was like seven feet of sand throughout this whole room," he said in his basement, where walls have been ripped down, exposing wires and pipes.

The work is keeping contractors busy seven days a week.

"The devastation -- all the houses sunken in, twisted upside down. It's quite an experience," said one worker.

There will still be a large police presence in the barrier islands. But residents and visitors will be permitted to drive along Route 35, with a 25 mph speed restriction. Access to all other streets are restricted to residents, contractors and government personnel. 

A curfew is in effect from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. The Ortley Beach section remains closed as crews work to restore utilities and repair road damage.

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