Construction crews were out in Seaside Heights Friday morning for the first day of work rebuilding the shore town's popular boardwalk.
The first step of the process is drilling deep into the beach and inserting 25-foot long wooden pilings that will support the boardwalk. Officials hope the pilings, which are drilled 10 feet below sea level, will help keep the boardwalk intact during future storms.
Much of the boardwalk was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy. What was left was removed and hauled away, a necessary process prior to reconstruction of nearly the entire length of the boardwalk.
The entire boardwalk will require an estimated 1,500 pilings, according to Seaside Heights Administrator John Camera. A foreman on hand for the first day of construction said they've set a goal of installing 64 pilings a day.
Though the process of drilling and inserting a piling is relatively easy and takes just a few minutes, the job requires significant amounts of measuring and surveying to ensure that it's done properly. Crews must also be extra careful when digging near preexisting buildings so that they don't cause additional damage to their foundations.
The work hasn't been without its snags in the early going. Work was halted for about an hour Friday as the drill hit a water line causing water to spray our onto the beach and requiring borough Public Works employees to respond to turn it off.
Seaside Park is expecting the boardwalk reconstruction to be completed on or before May 10. In its $3.6 million contract with Millstone-based Sidd and Associates, the borough included a provision that work be completed by that deadline or else the company will face a $7,500-a-day fine for loss of anticipated revenues.
The boardwalk is the first of several jobs to restore the town's beach front and make it more attractive to visitors and safer during future storms. The total amount of boardwalk repair, which includes a possible boardwalk-length seawall, is expected to top out at around $8 million.