Residents hope sea wall spares NJ community

MANTOLOKING, N.J. - October 30, 2013

When Sandy hit she practically wiped out Mantoloking. Every one of the borough's 521 homes was damaged or destroyed. Some filled inside with several feet of sand and water.

In a scene broadcast nationwide, people could see where the ocean blasted through the dunes, washing away Route 35 and several houses into the Barnegat Bay.

The state of New Jersey quickly filled in the breach, repaired the highway and constructed a giant corrugated steel wall to prevent it from happening again.

"Right where we are standing right now used to be eight homes," Chris Nelson, Mantoloking Special Counsel told Action News. "These folks aren't going to rebuild until they have some means of protection in front of them."

That's why the borough is moving forward on construction of an expanded $40 million steel wall that will stretch 4 miles from Mantoloking down to Brick.

"It's better than nothing right?" says Mark Meyer of Skillman, New Jersey. Pointed to some debris, he added "That house had been there since 1880s. Tallest house on the Jersey shore and now it's gone."

Mark and Wayne Meyer are perched on a temporary dune built up in front of their sister's house, which was destroyed by Sandy. They think the seawall will stop more of the beach from being eaten away.

"I believe it will. I imagine it's going to help," Wayne Meyer Said.

"It provides this solid ridge of protection against the ocean," says Larry Hanja of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. "But again, this is a last line of defense."

Here's how it will work: Forty-eight-foot high sheets will be driven 32 feet into the ground. What sticks up above will be covered by sand dunes and fronted by a much larger beach that will be built out through an Army Corps of Engineers beach replenishment project set to start in June.

"You have to do the two together otherwise what we're going have is a wall like that one down there, which basically goes right to the ocean," Nelson said surveying the project. "That's what we don't want. We want to have a big beach in front of that wall. You're never going to see it. It will be buried in sand."

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