The Mantoloking home that was swept virtually intact into Barnegat Bay by Hurricane Sandy’s record surge was finally demolished, a move that could help convince New Jersey boaters to get back on the waterways.
“These homes, just like the Jet Star roller coaster swept off Casino Pier and sitting in the ocean off Seaside Heights, have become iconic images of just how powerful and devastating Sandy was — and how this historic storm changed so many lives,” Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Bob Martin said during a press conference along the bay in Mantoloking. “The removal of these homes marks a symbolic benchmark in the progress we’ve made as New Jersey continues to recover and rebuild.”
Last week, Martin gave a report on the cleanup of waterways in preparation for the boating season, according to a statement issued by Gov. Chris Christie’s office May 2.
Concerned that a fear of debris will deter boaters, the Marine Trades Association of New Jersey has launched a video campaign at GoBoatingNJ.org of marina owners and dealers navigating waterways without incident.
MTA/NJ director Melissa Danko mentioned the home in the bay, which one official described as “an unfortunate icon,” in April when speaking with Trade Only about boaters’ concerns.
“There is a house in the water, but it’s not going to shut down boating,” Danko told Trade Only. “The channels are still open and we filmed us boating all around Mantoloking Bridge. You can’t boat where that house is, but that’s just one spot.”
“Today, one of the unfortunate icons of Mantoloking and Superstorm Sandy is going to be dismantled,” Mantoloking Mayor George Nebel said at the press conference, according to the statement.
Although waterways are open for recreation, the Christie administration urges the public to exercise caution and be aware of their surroundings on the water while the cleanup continues.
State contractors under the direction of the DEP have been focusing on removing debris from bays, channels, rivers, inlets and other coastal waters since the beginning of March, taking out pieces of structures, docks, bulkheads, boats and cars. Priority is being given to areas that pose a threat to public safety and the environment or impede navigation, with the goal of ensuring that waterways are safe for boating and recreation.
“This unprecedented debris cleanup effort has been steady and successful, with 30,000 cubic yards of debris removed from our waters since March,” Martin said.
After a four-month effort to remove more than 8 million cubic yards of debris from public rights of way in storm-ravaged communities across New Jersey, the state hired contractors to remove debris from tidal rivers, bays and estuaries in three regions.
— Reagan Haynes