Construction of a steel sea wall could start early next year in one of the Jersey shore towns hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy.
Bob Mainberger, Mantoloking's municipal engineer, tells the Asbury Park Press that the bidding process to find a contractor for the $40 million project could get under way later this month. If that happens, construction work could start by mid-January and be completed sometime in June.
Officials have said the wall will run for the entire length of Mantoloking and neighboring Brick Township. The two Ocean County communities have received federal and state approval for the wall that will be covered by sand and form the base of a makeshift dune system.
The steel sea wall is meant as a short-term protective measure, to be complemented by an extensive beach widening and dune construction project being planned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The federal government will pay 80 percent of the wall's cost, with the state paying the remainder. The towns' only expense will be to keep it covered with sand.
The work is desperately needed in Mantoloking, a wealthy seaside enclave which saw every one of its 521 homes damaged or destroyed in the storm that hit on Oct. 29, 2012.
The storm cut the barrier island borough in half, opening a new inlet between the ocean and Barnegat Bay. Filling in that breach and rebuilding Route 35 along the shore took a massive emergency construction project.