Ocean County Press Release

THE RECOVERY from Hurricane Sandy continues even as weather forecasters say another Nor'easter could strike the region next week.

Representatives from the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders, the county Office of Emergency Management and the county's professional staff toured devastated areas of the coast on Friday.

"Ocean County has never seen a disaster of this scale," said Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety. "Our thoughts and our prayers are with the families victimized by this storm."

The Northern Barrier Island is a virtual ghost town, with sand and debris still covering much of Route 35.

Along the highway dirt and mud mark the outside of homes, a stark reminder of the 3- to 4-foot high waters that flooded the communities only days before.

Treasure turned to rubble, including furniture, bicycles, lamps, books and even an electric clothes dryer are pushed into high piles by front-end loaders struggling to find some semblance of a roadway.

The devastation is worse in Mantoloking and sections of Brick Township, where in some places only foundations are left.

Yet, inexplicably, where one house is gone, a neighboring home is intact and appears little worse for the wear.

In Seaside Heights, a roller coaster sits dreamlike, unbroken and upright in the waves near the tattered end of the Casino Pier.

The infamous "Jersey Shore" house still stands, but a few blocks away nothing remains between Ocean Avenue and what's left of the beach. No arcades, no restaurants, no Boardwalk.

The Freeholders met with Seaside Heights Mayor William Akers and Police Chief Thomas "Tommy" Boyd, who said work crews are concentrating on trying to push sand onto the beaches and rebuild the dune line.

Another Nor'easter is predicted to strike the coast late next week and Akers said his town needs all the protection from the ocean that it can get.

There is still no word when residents will be able to return to the beach communities, although Akers said borough officials are working on a plan that would bus residents in so they can check on their property. They would then, however, have to board the bus and leave again.

The news is a little better farther south, where Ocean County Road Department work crews continue to clear streets on Long Beach Island.

Officials on the 18-mile-long island said residents could be allowed back to their homes within 10 days.

Until an official announcement is made, Sheriff William L. Polhemus said absolutely no one except emergency responders is allowed onto either barrier island.

Local police, State Police, officers from the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office and armed NJ National Guard troops are patrolling the islands and guarding public and private property.

In Toms River, no one is permitted to drive east past Fisher Boulevard towards Seaside Heights, Polhemus said.
In Stafford Township, the Route 72 bridge remains closed.

No one is permitted to cross the Bay Head Bridge from Point Pleasant Borough into Bay Head. In Point Pleasant Beach, Rt. 35 South cannot be accessed past the railroad tracks.

In an effort to assist with the ongoing storm cleanup, the Ocean County Landfill, a privately owned facility in Manchester Township, announced it will be open with extended weekend hours to assist in the removal of storm debris.

The landfill will be open from 7 am to 2 pm on Saturday and from 10 am to 3 pm on Sunday.

"We appreciate any effort the landfill can make to help our residents and businesses recover from this unprecedented destruction," Freeholder Director Gerry P. Little.

Ocean County's Parks are also slowly re-opening.
Jake's Branch in Beachwood is open normal hours and the Dog Park at Robert J. Miller Airpark is expected to reopen Wednesday, said Freeholder Deputy Director John C. Bartlett Jr.

The Dog Park at Lakewood remains closed until further notice.

"Many of our smaller parks re-open in phases, but the larger parks will take some time," Bartlett said.

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