The foundation for rebuilding Belmar's boardwalk — its pilings — is complete today.
With the "groundbreaking" on the boardwalk held Jan. 9 with a visit from Gov. Chris Christie, officials celebrated Epic Construction's initial piling sent into the ground, and today officials celebrate the last piling's installation.
Borough officials declared the last piling a "major milestone" to the project, which tops $7 million and is hoped to be complete for Memorial Day.
Mayor Matt Doherty said the project is on schedule. The contractor, Epic Construction, receives a bonus if complete before April 30 and starts receiving fines daily thereafter if it isn't.
With the last piling, the construction portion now focuses on underdecking and the decking itself, with crews installing one and then later the next step following behind, until the 1.3 miles are complete.
Lighting, benches and other elements would need to be installed thereafter, and the borough is also moving forward to put temporary trailers in place of the destroyed pavilions for the year to house concessions.
“This is a great day in the rebuilding of our boardwalk and in the recovery of our town.” said Doherty said in a prepared statement. “Belmar is on track to be back stronger than ever for Memorial Day.”
This step of the boardwalk rebuild comes amid weather watches for snow, wind and tides after a nor'easter hit the Belmar oceanfront. Waves continue to crash along the waterfront from construction continues with few exceptions along the beach from 7 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. weekdays.
The mayor said 2,886 piles have been driven into the ground, deeper than the previous boardwalk, to 20 feet, to upgrade its ability to withstand substantial storms.