Council Approves Contract for New Bulkhead at Central and Ship Bottom Avenue

By Gina G. Scala | Sep 04, 2019
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Ship Bottom — Ship Bottom officials awarded a $135,690 bulkhead replacement contract for work along Ship Bottom and Central avenues just as the king tide, the anomalous high-water levels that result from the perfect configuration of a new moon, Earth and the sun, arrived on Long Beach Island last month. While the king tide hung around only through Labor Day, the bulkhead will be around a lot longer – at least that’s the plan.

Albert Marine Construction, a Waretown-based company that has worked with Long Beach Township, the state Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and U.S. Coast Guard, was the lower responsible bidder of the two companies that submitted the proposals Aug. 21 for the work, according to Resolution 2019-120a, which authorized the contract.

The project to replace the existing bulkhead is funded through the 2019 budget line item, capital improvement-bulkhead and a portion of Ordinance 2019-09. The ordinance, adopted earlier this year, is expected to foot 90 percent of the projected cost of a borough-wide bulkhead program. Under the measure, bonds cover $190,000 of an estimated $200,000 price tag. The approximate life of new bulkheads is 15 years, according to the ordinance.

Following the completion of the bulkhead project, the borough will work with Ocean County officials for the installation of a pump station in the area, according to Mayor William Huelsenbeck. The bulkhead project needed to come first or the pump would just be cycling water back into the bay that was going to flood the area again, the mayor said.

Borough officials have been working toward a pump station in the area of Central Avenue for years, but other projects to stem flooding needed to be completed first. In 2018, the Ocean County Road Department raised the crown of the Boulevard, a county-maintained road, from 24th Street in Ship Bottom to 33rd Street in neighboring Long Beach Township, in an effort to stem flooding on the Island’s main thoroughfare.  Depending on the area of the roadway, the crown was raised between 6 and 8 inches in an effort to alleviate flooding in the center turn lane, allowing one lane of water-free – or almost water-free – driving during a tidal or storm event.

Then the borough undertook two bulkhead replacement projects, one at the municipal boat ramp, located to the south of the Causeway at the entrance to the Island, and the other at the end of West 28th Street. Those projects were done to help ease flooding throughout the borough and to ensure all new or replaced bulkheads meet the 5-foot height requirement put in place in 2018.

In addition to those projects, the county replaced the washed-out berm at the end of Central Avenue where it intersects with West 28th Street. That project required approval from the state Department of Environmental Protection. That area has historically been one of the most flood-prone in the borough. It’s also one of the most heavily trafficked areas on LBI, funneling all the traffic to the south end of the Island without the benefit of a secondary ocean road for use during flood events.

— Gina G. Scala

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