Mantoloking making progress in Superstorm Sandy demolitions

June 26, 2013 4:41:19 AM PDT
The Jersey shore town hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy is making progress tearing down homes wrecked by the storm.

Mantoloking has demolished 35 homes and cleared 17 property sites.

The borough started a demolition and debris removal program in May and said it hopes to have many more homes removed by July 3.

"That doesn't mean everything will be spick-and-span by then," cautioned borough spokesman Chris Nelson.

Every one of Mantoloking's 521 homes was damaged or destroyed by the Oct. 29 storm, and removing the rubble has long been seen as an important step on the road back to normalcy.

Sandy's storm surge cut a new channel between the Atlantic Ocean and Barnegat Bay, cutting the borough in two and necessitating a massive emergency repair project to fill in the breach and rebuild Route 35, parts of which were washed away by the storm.

The borough also plans to start removing some of the tons of sand that washed into Barnegat Bay and return it to the ocean beaches starting next week.

Nelson said Mantoloking recently got authorization from contractors doing the sand removal job to let property owners donate the use of their land as temporary transfer stations for sand to be dredged from the bay. There will be two such sites, on either side of the Mantoloking Bridge, which itself had to be rebuilt after the storm.

Nelson also cautioned homeowners at a Borough Council meeting on Tuesday not to be alarmed by the appearance of the reclaimed sand after it comes from the bay.

"It will be dark sand; there will be black sand coming out," he said. "It's not contaminated sand. Every shovelful has been tested.

"Within a couple of weeks, it will turn back white," he said. "We're not going to have black sand beaches like Hawaii."

Dark sand that was put back on Brick beaches drew similar complaints from residents who feared it was tainted.