A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Will Obama Fund Cliffwood Beach Seawall Pedestrian Project?

After tonight's rousing speech by President Obama to a joint session of Congress, I wondered how his words might translate into meaningful change for Aberdeen Township. For example, a town council press release dated 22 January 2009 provided the council's wish list of local projects that could be set in motion if sufficient Federal stimulus funding could be acquired. Might we receive some of this money?

The township announced last month its intention to apply for the following projects:
  1. Renovation and expansion of the George Hausmann Senior Center.
  2. Relocation of a water main currently situated on a Garden State Parkway overpass to run underground below the roadway.
  3. Construction of the Cliffwood Beach Seawall Pedestrian Project (augmenting grants that have already been awarded to facilitate the launch and completion of this project).
  4. Refurbishment of two water lines that run below Route 35.
  5. Construction of a sewage pump station and lines in Freneau, allowing for the addition of sanitary sewers to that section of the township.
No. 3 above is a request for funding to complete the Cliffwood Beach Seawall Pedestrian Project, part of a walkway that currently runs from Laurence Harbor (see photos) to Cliffwood Beach in Old Bridge Township.

A Bayshore Independent article of 29 January 2009 followed up on the press release and reported the following details about the sea wall effort:

"The Sea Walk Enhancement Project is a project that has gone on for a number of years, and we have received grant money in the past for this project, but we would like to receive funding for the completion of the project," Aberdeen Township Manager Joseph Criscuolo said. "The project has been done in several phases and there is quite a bit of beach erosion there."

Criscuolo said revitalization is the end goal for the sea walk project.

"The sea walk runs from Cliffwood Beach to Laurence Harbor, and there actually was a pedestrian bridge to the Morgan section of Sayreville at one time," Criscuolo said. "We want to re-create what used to be there and revitalize a recreation area and walking path for residents to enjoy. On a sunny day, you can actually see all the way across the [Raritan Bay], and it offers quite a beautiful view."

According to the township's online slide presentation outlining the sea walk project, available on the Web site, the project spans a 5/8-mile portion of publicly owned bayside property, allowing for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) access at Lakeshore and Beach drives and the wall itself, and restoring foot traffic to the shoreline in Cliffwood Beach.

Cliffwood Beach, the presentation states, was a popular resort town in the early 1900s, boasting a boardwalk, saltwater pools and amusements, until 1960 when Hurricane Donna ravaged the area and destroyed the boardwalk. Along with the area's economy, the beach also began to erode.

In order to prevent further land and beach decay, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed a seawall rising approximately 20 feet above bay level that spans the entire proposed sea walk section from Lakeshore Drive to Beach Drive.

According to the presentation, access improvements to the Lakeshore Drive access point are slated to include a new gated access, allowing for increased access control and visibility into the proposed ADA-accessible asphalt parking area. Additional improvements would include the installation of a handrail system, ADA-compliant ramps, as well as striping and signage.

In order to accommodate ADA access to the sea walk from the parking area, the township would also install a soft boardwalk, consisting of "engineered plastic-wood planks joined continuously with environmentally resistant ropes that can be laid out directly on the existing sand, to provide for acceptable access requirements, and then rolled up, removed and stored when environmental conditions require such, as in winter months," the presentation explains.


There will be a special joint session of the Aberdeen Township Council, Matawan Borough, and the Aberdeen-Matawan Library on Thurs evening at 8 pm at 1 Aberdeen Square. And don't forget the zoning board meeting on Wed evening at 7:30 pm. Council agendas and minutes are updated regularly at the township website.


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