Bob Casey couldn’t believe his eyes.
“These guys are doing a great job,” Casey said Thursday, as he watched a wide stretch of sand appear where a badly eroded area had been.
At high tide, the Third Street beach was nearly gone Casey said, with the ocean lapping precariously close to the dunes.
“Even at low tide, there wasn’t a whole lot there,” Casey said, “now look,” he said. About 100 yards of fresh sand had been deposited between Third Street and Park Place on Thursday alone.
“The people were blanket-to-blanket this summer,” he said. “Now there will be room for more visitors and (the beachgoers) will be able to spread out.”
Casey was one of a steady stream of spectators who stopped on the boardwalk or watched from balconies at the nearby Gardens Plaza condo. The “slurry” or sand/water mixture, was being pumped out of a system of pipes leading from the dredge anchored about a mile offshore adjacent to the Great Egg Harbor Inlet.
A surfer, who gave his name as “Sparky,” said the new sand would make things much more welcoming to wave riders.
“It shouldn’t affect the break, and it will give us a lot more space for boards and other stuff,” he said. “It’s going to be great.”
The new beach was just one small segment of a $13.4 million joint project of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, the city and the state.
“The city only had to pay a small part of the cost, which is a win-win,” Sparky said. “The Feds might not have to pay for storm damage now, and we have a real beach.” According to reports, the Federal and State Governments are paying for $12.2 million with the City earmarking $1.2 million of the project.
The replenishment began October 24 at Seaspray Road and will add 1.3 million cubic yards of new sand from Seaspray to 14th Street.
In addition, sand will be added to the dune system between 5th and 10th Streets. The project was expected to be finished by early next year. But unseasonably warm weather and mostly calm seas helped accelerate the project, now estimated to be finished by Christmas, a worker said.
But on Thursday it was all about 3th Street.
“My grandson Michael Casey likes going to the beach, but last year there wasn’t really a beach for him to go to,” Casey said. “I’m sure everyone is happy now.”