The Spring Lake boardwalk, rebuilt with a composite decking material called TimberTech, is now operational and being used by residents and visitors from nearby towns for daily walks and jogs. The 2-mile-long, 18-foot-wide boardwalk was stripped down to its concrete pilings after Superstorm Sandy barreled up the New Jersey coastline on Oct 29, 2012. It has been rebuilt with construction-grade 4- by 12-inch lumber underneath for support and a TimberTech composite called Docksider, specifically designed for docks and boardwalks.
According to W. Bryan Dempsey, borough administrator, Spring Lake has the only boardwalk in the area that is operational now. It is also the only one using its own DPW crews to rebuild, with five dedicated town workers and 15 to 20 additional hired laborers.
After Sandy, pieces of the boardwalk lay strewn on the beach or across the street on residents’ lawns. Only the original concrete pilings were left standing. As a reminder of the boardwalk’s history, one piling shows a stamp with “WPA 1937,” which stands for Work Progress Administration, a Roosevelt New Deal program intended to put public workers back to work after the Great Depression.
Dempsey said at one point in late winter, large structural lumber profiles were not easy to find. Rain in the south had affected the lumber shipments. To keep on track, he said, “We utilized as much salvaged lumber as possible, completing entire sections at a time, joining them and then laying the TimberTech over them. Using stainless-steel screws and screw guns, the decking went down easily and the crew said they liked the new composite better than the previous material.”
The town’s engineering consultants had to design for people and vehicles and add some protective measures. “We had to figure out loads for pedestrians and town vehicles for the structural lumber attached to the pilings and then the TimberTech on the surface,” says Peter Avakian, P.E., of Leon S. Avakian Consulting Engineers Inc. “To protect the boardwalk, we have new metal stanchions (each emblazoned with Spring Lake) that straddle the joined areas and are designed to break away in sections. That way, the boardwalk and railings stay as one complete section. The stanchions also have a nice design aesthetic.” He mentioned that the town is considering dune bulkheads for added protection.
Not only is the Spring Lake boardwalk already in use by pedestrians, there is access to the beach with new stairs and ramps. “The last small stretch of the Northern section, not needed for beach access, may be finished later but the boardwalk will be ready for the public before Memorial Day weekend,” he says.