Cleanup efforts are underway this morning throughout Atlantic City as the resort approaches its the fifth day of closure by mandatory evacuation orders for Hurricane Sandy.
Trucks and tractors from the city Department of Public Works and Atlantic City Sewerage Co. are rolling over the sand still blanketing Oriental Avenue, New Hampshire Avenue and other streets in the South Inlet section of town as they start to remove Boardwalk planks stacked as high as eight feet in some areas.
The wood comprised a 2,000-foot-long section that had been allowed for years to detriorate until Sandy took care of the demolition city officials planned to hire someone to complete within the coming months.
Leaves, branches and other small debris are being cleared from the sidewalk in front of Renaissance Plaza on Atlantic Avenue by workers from the Special Improvement Division of othe New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority.
Plaza Liquor is open, but chains and plywood block access to most other storefronts within that shopping center as well as most other stores along Atlantic and Pacific avenues, as well as the Boardwalk.
The Walk Outlets and casinos have not yet reopened. With minimal damage to address, local gambling oeprators have said they hope to be up and running Friday, five days after they closed to comply with the state of emergency.
With windows taped or boarded, the casinos and shops along The Walk and Boardwalk bear show or no signs of external damage aside from some ripped or removed awnings.
Flood waters were as high as three feet in the center of town, and left behind debris on the sidewalks of The Walk. Storm winds also overturned planters, dislodged utility boxes and broke traffic lights, although some have since started working again.
Maintenance workers cleaning up The Walk this morning said the outdoor shopping mall will stay closed until Saturday; the property's general manager was not immediately available for comment.
Many conveneince stores resumed operations Wednesday to cater to the roughtly 7,500 residents who stayed behind and wanted food, water, cigarettes and other essentials. Some people also charged their phones at electrical outlets inside those businesses - about 10,000 city customers remain powerless, according to Atlantic City Electric's online outage map.
Electricity restoration will play a major role in when the city reopens, officials have said.
The state also must lift the travel ban still in place on the resort's access roads: Routue 30, Route 40 and the Atlantic City Expressway.
Police continue to check credentials to ensure only essential personnel get through, although traffic continued growing heavier as it has since flooding receded Tuesday.
As of last night, The state had reopened all but 20 - including Atlantic City's three causeways - of 463 roads shut down in New Jersey during Sandy.
City officials said they expect to know more this afternoon about when the city will reopen.