As the temperature hovered between 12 and 18 degrees in Ocean City on Tuesday, a few hardy folks were not deterred from their constitutional on the world famous boardwalk.
Those we spoke to on Tuesday afternoon were understandably pleased the city’s repairs, which closed the ‘walk from 10th through 11th Streets since October, would be completed ahead of schedule.
Last month, city officials said the project, the final phase of a $10 million reconstruction taking place over the last several years, was more than halfway completed and should be finished ahead of the March target date.
“That’s great to hear,” said George Barth, a retired welder from Pine Hill, Camden County. “I like to come down in the offseason and enjoy the salt air,” he said.
Barth said his main reason for this particular visit was to purchase Ocean City-themed holiday gifts for people he was unable to see prior to Christmas and New Years Day.
“I wanted to walk down to Johnson’s Popcorn (from 9th Street) but now I’m going to have to go back to my car and (drive around the construction zone,)” he said. Barth said he didn’t mind doing so. “As long as I come back with popcorn and salt water taffy I will be a happy camper.”
As with other sections completed in the project’s previous phases, the reconstruction uses 40-ft.by 40-ft. sections which are pre-built off-site, trucked to the construction zone and installed with a crane. New pilings have been driven into the ground to support the structure. The unseasonably warm weather for most of the late fall and early winter have aided the process, and shortened the projected timeframe, according to city officials.
That was music to the ears of Jim and Jean Mulherin of Somers Point.
“We walk (the boards) every day if we possibly can,” said Jim. They were bundled up with layers, heavy coats and scarves to help get them through the trek.
“We do it for the exercise,” said Jean, with a smile.
Jim said the couple welcomed the job’s completion. “There are stores we like that we can’t get to now. In the meantime we’re getting in our 30 minute walk (on the open section north of 10th Street.”
An unidentified man power-walked up the ramp to the boards, and upon discovering Manco & Manco Pizza was closed, pivoted and sprinted back down the ramp before we could ask him what he thought about the repairs.
A young couple who identified themselves as “James and Mikayla” said they were interested in taking a brief look at the boardwalk, the Atlantic Ocean and the Music Pier. They clearly were not impacted by the construction.
“I grew up around here and pretty much spent all my summers here,” said James, a resident of Egg Harbor Twp. “I wanted to show (Mikayla) who is from Las Vegas.”
When we came back shortly after sunset, the temperature was 12 degrees according to the car thermometer and the boardwalk was deserted, crowned by a huge full moon.