Surf City Adopts Ordinance to Fund Shore Avenue Bulkhead Project

By Gina G. Scala | Sep 18, 2019

Surf City — Borough officials earlier this month unanimously introduced a bond ordinance that, if approved, would shoulder 90 percent of a bulkhead repair and replacement project on the south side of Shore Avenue in Surf City, where a bulkhead is slowly eroding into the bay. The proposed ordinance, 2019-13, is expected to cover $380,000 of the estimated $400,000 price tag for the project. The measure includes a $20,000 down payment as required by local bond law, and it has been allocated as a provision in the capital improvement fund.

“The improvement hereby authorized and the purpose for which the bonds or notes are to be issued is the repair and replacement of various bulkheads located at various locations in the borough and related expenses, including all work and materials,” proposed Ordinance 2019-13 reads in part.

The project is expected to be done under an agreement with Ocean County, according to Mayor Francis Hodgson. It was supposed to have been done in 2018, but another bulkhead project ended up taking precedence, he said.

While the bulkhead project is expected to help stem some of the flooding that results from tidal surges, it won’t eliminate the flooding completely, Hodgson said.

“The waves won’t be breaking right there and going across the street,” the mayor said earlier this week. “But the water finds its own way.”

The ordinance, which goes into effect 20 days after the first publication following its adoption, was approved by the council following a public comment period that drew no remarks from those in attendance at the Sept. 11 borough council meeting.

A similar project is slated for a portion of Central Avenue in neighboring Ship Bottom, where officials recently awarded a $135,690 contract to Albert Marine Construction. The Waretown-based company has worked with Long Beach Township, the state Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and U.S. Coast Guard.

The Ship Bottom bulkhead project 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, Huelsenbeck said.

Ship Bottom 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.

— Gina G. Scala

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