- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The federal government has approved $128 million for the latest beach replenishment project on Long Beach Island.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Tuesday it has awarded a contract for 12.7 miles of beach widening and dune restoration in four municipalities: Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom, Beach Haven and a small section of Surf City. The work should be finished by May 2016, and is fully paid for with federal funds under the Superstorm Sandy aid bill.

The beach project was only partially completed when Sandy hit in October 2012; repairs have been made since then, but the current project will complete the initial construction of the island’s coastal protection measures.

The Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Oak Brook, Illinois, will perform the work, which involves dredging approximately 8 million cubic yards of sand from three miles offshore. It will be pumped through a series of pipes onto the beaches within the municipalities of the four towns, and built into a dune system designed to reduce potential storm damage to infrastructure, businesses, and homes near the coast.

The contract also includes the construction of dune crossovers to allow access to and from the beaches; the placement of sand fencing, and dune grass plantings.

The Army Corps completed the initial construction of the project at Surf City in 2006; at Harvey Cedars in 2010; and the Brant Beach section of Long Beach Township in 2012. It repaired beaches in Surf City and Harvey Cedars in 2012 after Hurricane Irene, and fully restored the beaches within all three communities after Hurricane Sandy in 2013.

New Jersey is in the midst of a project to protect beaches along its entire 127-mile shoreline.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at https://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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