The dredging of the navigational channels in the Shark River will continue after all after it was determined that Federal Emergency Management Agency funding that had been awarded in the wake of Superstorm Sandy may have been in jeopardy if the state did not act.
The project calls for the removal of106,000 cubic yards of sediment from the navigational channels in the Shark River. The dredging was suspended due to a lack of funding in the New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund (TTF).
“We had concerns but the project is back on track and hopefully the contractor can now fulfill the deadline,” Sen. Jennifer Beck said earlier this week.
Beck said that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding that had been awarded in the wake of Superstorm Sandy may have been in jeopardy if the state did not act.
“That funding makes up a decent part of the cost and this was an important element in having the state Department of Transportation release the funds,” she said.
Also, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders and four municipalities bordering the Shark River wrote nearly $2 million in checks to the state or committed in-kind services to get the dredging project started in late 2015.
“A case was also made to use this funding for the project while the TFF is being made solvent,” Beck said.
Neptune Township Committeeman Randy Bishop, a longtime advocate for dredging the Shark River, said that if the dredging did not move forward now then the entire project may have been jeopardized
“I am pleased the project is moving forward. It is long overdue and fought for so hard by residents and officials on all levels. The river is critical to the regional and local economy of so many towns. This restarting allows us to continue to dredge during the federal time limits set by the federal government,” he said.
Environmental restrictions require the project be shut down from Jan. 1 to June 30. The dredging project was expected to restart in July but was shut down on July 8 after Governor Chris Christie issued Executive Order 210 declaring a State of Emergency after the Legislature failed to act on a legislative solution to replenish the state’s TTF.
Mobile Pumping & Dredging Co., based in Chester, PA, had also threatened to remove its equipment until TFF funding was restored. Mobile Pumping was awarded a $7.6 million contract for the project last year.