Freeholders See Maps Of Sandy's Surge: 'This Was A 500-Year Event'
County engineer's report shows work progressing to get county back to normalcy
A map of Ocean County sat on an easel in the corner of the room, a blue tint highlighting many of the coastal areas but reaching well into the estuaries as well.
That blue, of course, represented water -- water that inundated so much of the county's eastern areas.
"This is just a little perspective of what's going on," Ocean County Engineer Frank Scarantino said, as he gave a Power Point presentation at the county freeholders' preboard meeting on Wednesday.
The map was a FEMA representation of the surge, with the bluish gray areas representing static water, not flowing water, Scarantino said. The map -- broken into smaller sections -- is in the photos attached to this story.
It is an unprecedented amount of water, Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari said.
"This isn't a 100-year event; it's a 500-year event," he said. The map showed a faint line that indicated what had been predicted as the potential for a 500-year surge; the blue in many cases surpassed it. (Editor's note: That line is not visible on the attached photos. The surge appears gray.)
That's why the damage was so extensive, especially in the bayfront areas of the mainland, the freeholders noted.
Scarantino's presentation also included photos of the repair work done to re-establish a connection from the Mantoloking Bridge to the peninsula, which then allowed the Army Corps of Engineers to close the breaches created by the storm.
The county shored up the area where the bridge joined the land, excavating the undermined asphalt and then filling it with rock of varying sizes before laying down the road bed, and they did it within 24 hours, once the water receded, Thomas Curcio, supervisor of the roads department, said.
"We had to pick out furniture and TV sets that had wound up in there," in a gap under the asphalt that was scoured away by the water, Curcio said, noting they were able to work through the night.
Since the road repair was completed, the Army Corps of Engineers has been back and forth over the stretch with heavy equipment and massive truckloads of sand, and there has been no settling of the road,
"I’ve never seen anyone work as fast as the Army Corps of Engineers," Vicari said. "When they want to do something, they get things done."
Scarantino's presentation also included photos of Lavallette and Ortley Beach, where massive sinkholes developed for several days following the storm, particularly along Bay Boulevard, officials said. That road alone needs about $1 million in repairs, they said.
"They lost 2,000 feet of Route 35," Scarantino said. And New Jersey Natural Gas lost 4,000 feet of a brand new gas main, he said.
Curcio said the road department -- which borrowed vehicles from every possible department in the county -- moved sand that was four feet deep on the road in Point Pleasant Beach with snowplows, noting they were fortunate in that sand was very clean and could just be put back on the beaches.
The nor'easter, of course, slowed the work, he said. They had just two vehicles with plows on them in the day before the storm, which dumped as much as a foot of snow in some areas of the county.
"That was a kick in the pants to have to plow snow," he said.
The snow also took down more than 1,000 additional trees. Fortunately, assistance in the form of 20 three-man teams came in from out of state to help remove those trees, officials said, allowing county crews to keep concentrating on clearing and repairing the damage from Sandy.
There is still much work be done, Scarantino and Curcio said. Dozens of traffic signals -- 50 of them on Long Beach Island alone -- have to be repaired or replaced, and road repairs will be ongoing. But they are making progress, they said.