MANTOLOKING, N.J. — Two hurricanes have delayed the start of beach widening and dune construction in some of the New Jersey shore towns hit hardest by Superstorm Sandy five years ago.

Work in Mantoloking was supposed to have started within the last week or so, but hurricanes Jose and Maria have prevented that from happening. The barrier island town was cut in half by Sandy, and virtually every one of its 521 homes was damaged or destroyed by the 2012 storm.

Steve Rochette, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says work in Mantoloking should now begin in early October, with other nearby towns following later when more equipment is available.

“They can’t do it now with the way the weather is,” he said. “They need to be able to safely and effectively set up pipeline and do dredging and if ocean swells are above a certain limit, they can’t operate.”

The dredging ship scheduled to work on the Mantoloking project is in safe harbor in the Absecon Inlet near Atlantic City, and pipeline equipment is temporarily stored in the Manasquan Inlet.

A ship scheduled to work in Brick Township and Lavallette and in the Ortley Beach and Normandy Beach sections of Toms River has been put in safe harbor in Sandy Hook Bay. After the storms pass, this ship will return to Absecon Island, near Atlantic City, complete work there, and then come to Ortley Beach.

The Army Corps also recently awarded contracts for beach replenishment work in Brigantine, where Superstorm Sandy made landfall, and in Ocean City. It soon will award a contract for three towns on Long Beach Island that were left out of a previous beach replenishment project.

Rochette said work on these projects is expected to begin in the fall or winter of this year.


Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC