As beach towns throughout New Jersey recover from the most devastating hurricane in recent memory, one South Jersey town is taking a huge step forward to improve their battered shores.
In Avalon, a beach replenishment program, which was approved before Sandy, is expected to begin on Sunday the 23rd or early next week. The project is designed to restore the beaches and dunes that were damaged during Hurricane Sandy.
Avalon mayor, Marty Pagliughi, said, "Now after Hurricane Sandy it couldn't have been at a more opportune time that we are getting this done right away."
Avalon locals say the beaches haven't been the same since the big storm. Carson Horner told NBC 40, "It's just like, there is really nothing there. It used to be way bigger but there's barely any place to walk or anything down there. It's just gone." Ryan Mackey added, "There are really no beaches left. There's a big gully up by the pier and over by the jetty and it comes up real high. There's a lot of rocks and all the debris from the street is all over down there from when the road broke."
Officials say that despite how the beaches may look right now, Avalon was very prepared for Hurricane Sandy and that the dunes did their job throughout the storm.
Mayor Pagliughi explained, "I think it shows the work we've done over the past 20 years on the beaches in the dunes system, and keeping up with engineered beaches, and building the dunes per the FEMA requirements. I think that's what really saved a lot of the private property damage in Avalon."
As Avalon prepares for the dredge to start pumping this weekend or early next week, the mayor told us it is definitely something the beaches need. "We're looking at minimal protection right now on the beachfronts - so whatever additional protection we can get between now and the Spring, we really need it."
Officials say Avalon beaches added 60,000 yards of sand last spring, but that they haven't been fully replenished since 2008. They hope to pump 290,000 yards onto the shores of Avalon.
When the Avalon beaches are fully restored, the dredge is expected to head to Stone Harbor where they plan on adding 420,000 yards of sand to their shores.