Workers next month will begin repairing several bulkheads in Toms River after the town council on Tuesday awarded a contract worth nearly $500,000 for the project, officials said.
The council handed R. Kremer & Son Marine Contractors a $497,582 contract for the town’s bulkhead and drainage project, scheduled to commence in two or three weeks, Township Engineer Robert J. Chankalian said.
The project will replace old and rotting wooden bulkheads with long-lasting vinyl ones at seven sites, including Bayshore Drive, deemed by the township to be in the worst shape, Chankalian said.
The township must maintain its bulkheads on a yearly basis to prevent deterioration and collapses, which can also destroy roads and pipes, Chankalian said.
“The town really needs to be doing something like that almost every year just to keep up on this before things collapse,” Chankalian said. “We have had collapses.”
The seven repair sites listed on the plan are located at Bayshore Drive, Culebra Avenue, Eisenhower Avenue, Miami Drive, Morris Boulevard, Tunney Avenue and Antigua Avenue, according to Chankalian.
The bulkhead at Bayshore Drive is in the worst shape of them all, with water from the bay often coming over the top and into the road, Chankalian said.
“We tried to put band-aids on it at first,” Chankalian said. “But that can only be done so much.”
Along the way, the contractors will also repair the drainage pipes, Chankalian said.
“While we’re there we fix drainage pipes. These locations, as you can imagine, don’t get taken care of really well. We try to put nice clean stone back with filter fabric and some bushes and grasses just to make them a little nicer for the residents,” Chankalian said.
Most of the township’s bulkheads were built in the 1950s and 60s, when the standard was to use an environmentally hazardous, yet long-lasting, material called creosote -- a form of tar -- to seal the wood, Chankalian said.
The creosote bulkheads had a 50-year lifespan, which is now beginning to run its course, Chankalian said.
The vinyl bulkheads that will replace the old ones are safe for the environment and should last another 50 years, Chankalian said.
“We’re looking for another 50-year product that we can get some time out of,” Chankalian said.
The township also discovered that some marine worms were burrowing into the wood, causing the bulkheads to rot from the bottom .
“You could just take the wood out with your hand – it’s like a sponge. In 20 years it’s gone,” Chankalian said.
The only wood used on the new bulkheads will be at or above the waterline, and the rest of the material will be vinyl, which is nearly impenetrable, Chankalian said.
“So what’s really in the water is vinyl and that’s pretty much impervious,” Chankalian said.
The last bulkhead project, which began five years ago and was completed the end of last year, was the first installation of the vinyl material, but the township plans to continue using that technology with future projects, Chankalian said.
The township hopes to have this next project completed by the spring, Chankalian said.