Repairs to the north jetty of Barnegat Inlet are well underway, officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection said on Friday.

The $7.6 million repair project, funded by federal disaster relief dollars, will see the stabilization of approximately 740 feet of the jetty on the north side of the inlet that was battered by Superstorm Sandy.

Early in the spring, public access to the north jetty was shut down as the equipment – from heavy earth-moving vehicles to barges in the inlet's channel – was staged, and the work has since commenced.

Currently, the ongoing repair work involves rebuilding the cross-section of the jetty using existing capstone, supplemented with additional capstone, corestone, slushed concrete and stone-filled mattresses.

State officials released several aerial photos of the jetty work, attached to this story, and recently took several photos from the ground with a zoom lens capable of photographing the project from an area where the public is still allowed.

"This is a much-needed project that will deal with severe damage caused by Superstorm Sandy, and which will result in a more resilient shoreline when the work is done," said DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, in a statement. "The Army Corps is committed to moving as quickly as possible to get the job done and have the inlet fully reopened to our residents and visitors."

Sandy caused the displacement of jetty stones along the 740-foot portion of the jetty being repaired, officials said. The openings between the jetty stones had been allowing a flow of sand and water which ultimately could have caused shoaling in Barnegat Inlet and erosion at southern most beach area of Island Beach State Park.

The project, though necessary from an engineering standpoint, has ruffled the feathers of many local recreational anglers who use the north jetty to fish for striped bass, blackfish and other species.

"For the duration of the project, we ask for patience from park users, as this jetty area will be closed for the safety of our visitors,'' said Island Beach State Park manager Ray Bukowski. "But all other mobile sport access points for Island Beach State Park remain open to permit holders."

The jetty project will likely be completed sometime this fall.

According to DEP officials, the north jetty was first constructed in 1940 and raised in elevation in 1974. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged the inlet last July.

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