By JOHN T. WARD
With the opening of checkpoints at the Rumson Road entry to town and the northern and southern borders on Ocean Avenue, traffic was trickling through the narrow sandbar borough shortly after dawn.
The Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge drawbridge was also back in service, having had its electricity shut off as a precautionary measure in advance of Hurricane Sandy.
Now, officials are bracing for a possible influx of gawkers eager to eyeball the destroyed beach clubs and downtown up close.
“It’s going to be chaos here, especially this weekend,” said Chris Wood, the restaurateur who has overseen the establishment of an all-needs-met encampment for contractors and residents next door to the borough firehouse.
Councilman Read Murphy, though, said borough police, bolstered by state troopers from Massachusetts, Michigan and Mississippi, will be vigilant against not only potential looters, but anyone who might interfere with contractors working on the beaches or roadways.
“It’s toleration level zero for people getting in the way or being where they’re not supposed to be,” said Murphy. “You go where you don’t belong, they’re going to chase you out of there.”
Until now, access to the town has been limited, first to escorted forays in to recover prescription medications, pets and other personal valuables, and later, on a daily basis to residents and their contractors.
The reopening of the bridge should aid in the recovery of boats stranded on the shore of Gunning Island and elsewhere along the Shrewsbury River.
The bascule bridge opens at 9 and 11 a.m and 2 and 4 p.m, but only if a boater has called in advance for an appointment.