By Jay Cook |
MONMOUTH BEACH – Boaters frequenting the Shrewsbury River will soon see noticeable relief in three state channels impacted by Super Storm Sandy.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) announced last week a three-month-long, $1.3 million dredging program for the larger of the Two River waterways to begin on Oct. 1. The initiative is part of the NJDOT’s State Channel Dredging Program, which aims to “restore safe navigation in all state channels in the Shrewsbury Basin,” officials from the transportation agency said.
Sizeable sand shoaling after Sandy has decreased channel depths in the river, causing nautical navigation issues.
The state will focus on three specific channels in the Shrewsbury: the Monmouth Beach Channel; the Rumson Country Club Y Channel; and the Oceanport Creek Channel. It is anticipated an estimated 17,500 cubic yards of sand will be removed from the river basin.
Once the sediment is removed, the Monmouth Beach Channel will be back to a depth of 6 feet in previously shoaled areas. The Rumson Country Club Y Channel will be brought to 5 feet, and Oceanport Creek Channel will have a depth of 4 feet.
NJDOT spokesman Stephen Schapiro said Tri-State Dredging, Philadelphia, will be conducting the work from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, when federal and state regulations come into effect and work must conclude.
Schapiro said the contractor will use a hydraulic dredge, floating and sunken pipelines, work barges and service vessels for the duration of the project.
All of the reclaimed materials will be pumped across Ocean Avenue via an underground pipe to a stretch of beach in Monmouth Beach spanning Park Road and Central Road. That area will be fenced off to the public while the rest of the beach will remain open.
“There will be no delays to traffic on Ocean Avenue,” Schapiro said.
But boaters can expect a number of disruptions on the water. All necessary state aids to navigation – buoys, channel markers and navigational beacons – will be removed during the project duration. The state urges mariners to be aware of all dredging equipment and asks that “under no circumstances” anyone approach any of the work equipment.
For the boaters who frequent the Shrewsbury, this project provides a sigh of relief.
“I’m in favor of it,” said Fred Leonardis, owner of Angler’s Marina in Sea Bright. “It’s going to help bring money to the shore. “
Leonardis said he wasn’t surprised about the significant shoaling. After Sandy came through Sea Bright he said there was more than 5 feet of sand inside his building.
And Leonardis said it’s a good thing the new load of sand is being pushed back onto the beaches. “The tourists come down and enjoy sitting on a bigger beach,” he noted.
Karen Manista, a 25-year resident of Seaview Avenue in Monmouth Beach said she’s all-in on cleaning the channels out.
“A lot of the big boats during low tide can’t get through because the channels need to be dug out,” she said on a Wednesday morning stroll. “It’s a good idea that they take it from there and put it back on the beach, which helps with the restoration.”
The state dredging program was introduced by Gov. Chris Christie back in 2014 to restore Sandy-damaged state water ways. The dredging is purposely completed outside the summer season to lessen the impact on tourism and travel. Locally, similar dredging projects have been done in the Shark River, the Manasquan River, and the Waackaack and Thornes creeks in Keansburg.
This article was first published in Sept. 28 – Oct. 5, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.
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