Posted on October 16, 2023
The long-awaited U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ beach replenishment project aimed at shoring up local beaches and re-engineering some “trouble spots” where a project seven years ago was performed has faced yet another hold-up – the latest in a string of administrative wranglings that has kept the project from beginning.
This week, Steve Rochette, public affairs officer for the Corps’ Philadelphia District, which has jurisdiction over projects in Ocean County, said a new bid protest has emerged, which will further delay a contract from being awarded. Previously, the project was put out to bid, with proposals having been rejected since they were considered over budget. It was later revealed that a protest by one of the bidders had been filed, which requires a resolution under federal defense procurement policies. This week, Rochette told Shorebeat a second bid protest has been filed.
“The District received another protest from one of the bidders shortly after we resolved the first round of protests and were preparing to request new bids form the contractors,” he said. “We are again working through the process to respond to the new protest and hope to have an update in the near future.”
The project, which will renourish beaches from Point Pleasant Beach to South Seaside Park, will add sand to the beach berm – the portion of the beach where visitors place their chairs and blankets – and ensure the dune line itself is sufficiently maintained. Special focus in the project is expected to go towards Bay Head, Normandy Beach and Ortley Beach, three areas where storms have consistently eaten away at the dune line and caused damage to dune crossovers, costing millions of dollars in repairs. At one point, Brick Township closed one entrance in Normandy Beach due to safety concerns over “cliffs” that had developed there.
The dunes as a whole have served their purpose since being built; no breaches – nor anything close to a breach – has occurred.
The renourishment project was supposed to have been completed in 2023, however it is largely unknown when it will begin or end. Outgoing Toms River Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill recently urged the township council there to hold between $300,000 and $500,000 in reserve to repair crossovers, fencing and openings should the project not begin by next spring.