CAPE MAY POINT _It just may be the quickest sand dune ever constructed.
The borough got a phone call Tuesday morning from the state Department of Environmental Protection asking if there was anything the agency could do to help protect the town from the pending northeast storm. The DEP made such phone calls to all towns along the New Jersey coast.
Mayor George “Skip” Stanger knows the weak point in this coastal town that fronts both the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. Alexander Avenue is the only spot that has no dune protecting it and its where water came in during Hurricane Sandy. Stanger lives on the street.
“This was the funnel into Cape May Point. We had no protection,” Stanger said.
The DEP waived permits, a process that often takes months, and agreed to pay 75 percent of the costs to construct an emergency dune. Quick dune designs were drafted and a nearby sand mining company was called.
The trucks started rolling on Tuesday afternoon and continued this morning as 812 tons of sand was brought in. Public Works Manager Bill Gibson used a backhoe Tuesday morning to craft a 6-foot-high dune. Gibson felt pretty good about the town’s chances to weather the coastal storm.
“This is the only place we had a weak point,” Gibson said.
Stanger, putting a twist on an old real estate saying, said its all about “protection, protection, protection.”
Borough Administrator Connie Mahon said the project will cost about $6,500 but local taxpayers will pay less than $1,700.
“That’s the cheapest dune ever built,” Mahon said.
It’s also one of the quickest. DEP spokesman Larry Ragonese said it was done under an emergency order and all “permits and other issues” were waived.
“Commissioner (Robert) Martin reached out to all the shore towns yesterday and offered any help we could to prepare for the storm,” Ragonese said.
Mahon said after the storm passes some fine-tuning will be done to the new dune, walkways will be constructed over it, and vegetation will be planted to protect it.