By Cleve Bryan
STONE HARBOR, N.J., (CBS) – The haul to the beach in parts of Stone Harbor is a little longer than some people expected.
Steve McElroy from West Chester, Pa. says he didn’t know until he was already driving down the shore that beaches are blocked near his rental house because of beach reconstruction.
“Someone texted me this morning letting me know that we had to go to 86th Street,” says McElroy as he rolled his beach cart full of chairs.
The beach reconstruction project in Stone Harbor has been going on since April starting from the southern tip of the Boro and creeping block by block North toward Avalon.
Tuesday the beaches were closed from 83rd to 87th Streets.
Stone Harbor Mayor Suzanne Walters says poor weather and equipment failures pushed the dredging project into the heart of vacation season.
“It has been difficult there’s no doubt about that. What we’ve tried to do is to keep it to 1,000 feet of beach closed at any one time so that people can go one block North or South to go to the beach,” says Walter.
The Boro received the reconstruction at no cost from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and tried to make light of the summer intrusion by giving out plastic hard hats to children “inspectors.”
As of Tuesday there were only 150,000 out of 800,000 cubic yards of sand left to be moved in the project.
One final obstacle could come at the end of this week or sometime next week when 78th to 80th Street beaches in Avalon are expected to close.
Windrift general manager Peter Compare is optimistic that hotel guests will be understanding about walking a few extra blocks to the beach from the ocean front hotel.
“I just think when they get down to the beach and they’re enjoying themselves and seeing what the town is doing to make their experience a better one – I don’t think they’ll have any issues,” says Compare.